John Esquivel / The Collegian
Within the last few months, there has been a lot to talk about regarding Fresno art. The controversial murals painted on the side of Neighborhood thrift store located on Olive Avenue at Wilson Avenue in the Tower District. The Fresno Art Museum partnering with Fresno State in an effort to keep its doors open. However, the announcement that seemed to shock residents the most — the closure of the Fresno Metropolitan Museum.
The familiar site that many Valley students recall from weekend visits and elementary school field trips ended on Jan. 5, 2010. The sudden closure of the Fresno Metropolitan Museum (The Met) came only one year after a $28 million renovation, which included a new garden, sign and interior design. Today, beginning at 9 a.m., The Met will be auctioning away everything from the two dog sculptures that graced the entrance to office supplies. All proceeds from the auction will go toward the $4 million debt stemming from the 2008 renovations. The auction items are projected to have a high value and all bidders are expected to leave a $100 deposit.
While people are quick to point out derogatory titles Fresno has earned (drunkest, dirtiest, dumbest, etc.) the closure of The Met is a much larger blow. The answer to the question, “What could have been done?” is not as simple as it may seem.
Even though locals are affected by The Met’s demise, few changes were made to save the quarter of a century old museum, excluding the renovations, which backfired.
Therefore, let’s forget what Men’s Health magazine and TheDailyBeast.com concluded and focus on what contribution can be made to support the arts, such as: appreciating Fresno artists and their work or else they too will join the likes of The Met, Kern Street Coffee, Cabo Wabo, Gottschalks and Circuit City.
Go beyond the concept of interpreting a canvas on a wall and immerse yourself in the music, the architecture and the various cultural expressions that Fresno has to offer. Yes, there are things going on at this campus (art display and gallery in the Conley Art Building, USU productions, and plays in the John Wright Theater) and there are tons of things going on off campus (various open mic and poetry readings throughout town, Rogue Festival, Art Hop, Club Retro, and Saroyan Theatre.)
Students are given another chance to support the arts with the merge of Fresno State and the Fresno Art Museum. It wouldn’t hurt to stop in and check out what is going on over at the Fresno Art Museum. In fact, there are numerous places around town to scope out for inspiration such as the African American Historical & Cultural Museum, Artes America, Kearney Mansion Museum and Forestiere Underground Gardens.
There is even room for those who wish to show off their own creative expressions. Now more than ever, there is a call for student involvement. Yes, there is room for students at various venues such as the Nihon Gallery, Broadway Studios, KJWL Studios and Starline as well as Full Circle Brewery that allow artists to showcase their work, perform and read poetry. While a disadvantage may be the downtown locations, the advantage of a smaller gallery is showing your work without showing up for mandatory meetings.
While world-renowned artists may bring a crowd, the idea of pleasing an audience is nerve racking regardless of national or local status.
“I think no matter what, you can’t please everybody. It’s impossible. And for the most part, Fresno is very uncultured and conservative, other than the Tower District, which is why it was such a shock that people complained about the mural being put there,” said local muralist Robert Amador.
Therefore, students don’t just sit there and wish there was something you could have done, when there is always something you can do. For those of you who are sad to see The Met go, this questions for you: when was the last time you paid a visit to the museum? Get out there and stop complaining.