Broadway Studios residents launch ‘Rehop,’ bringing small businesses and local artists together

Crystal Rocha of Gooey Stranger hopes to bring the community together for another day of artistic celebration. (Sarah Delgado/The Collegian)

A group of studio artists hopes to bring the art community together in a new monthly celebration located at the heart of downtown Fresno, along the mural district. 

“Rehop” is a new event that aims to bring together artists and vendors and is an addition to Fresno’s bi-monthly Arthop

Unlike its predecessor, which is held every first and third Thursday of the month. Rehop is planned to take place every third Saturday of the month with new themes and art to decorate Broadway Studios.

At Broadway Studios, artists of every medium occupy the rooms in an active, always-changing art gallery. Crystal Rocha and Joseph Rodriguez, who operate under their shared shop name Gooey Stranger, were the first to introduce the idea of Rehop.

“We wanted this event to be for everyone. We didn’t want it to be for the cool kids. We didn’t want it to be just for the Broadway artists. We wanted to bridge a gap between vendor artists, community members and kind of housing [them] under one place,” Rocha, who goes by she/they pronouns, said.

Gooey Stranger recently moved into its studio space, Room 21 of Broadway Studios five months ago. Just three days after their move-in date, Rocha and Rodriguez opened their space for Arthop, displaying oil pastel art on their wall and handmade jewelry along with custom T-shirts for visitors to buy.

The oil pastels represent some of Rocha’s different “personas.” (Sarah Delgado/The Collegian)

“We were serious about our presence in the art scene and our community, [so] we opened up as soon as we could,” Rocha said.

Rocha told The Collegian that Rehop was “originally a passion project.” 

“We remember there used to be events here [at Broadway Studios] and we thought to ourselves, ‘[How] could we do this?’” Rocha said.

With the help of other studio residents, Rodriguez made an Instagram account on Jan. 8 to announce the new event. 

The “Community Art Wall” that Rodriguez helped set up. (Sarah Delgado/The Collegian)

Tyler Smith, a new resident artist just parallel to the Gooey Stranger room, just moved into his studio space two weeks ago. 

“I never felt necessarily integrated with the arts community of Fresno, so to now be so quickly plunged into the heart of it is an incredible opportunity,” he said. 

Despite barely moving in, Smith became involved with the planning process of Rehop with Rocha and Rodriguez. 

“I’ve witnessed Crystal and Joe planning it over the past few weeks and hearing the vision and then slowly seeing it come to fruition to it being fully catalyzed today is just really wonderful,” he said.

With Rehop happening at Broadway Studios, word about the event quickly spread throughout social media and word of mouth in the art community, prompting local business owners of Mas Fresno to also host an event alongside Broadway.

Anthony Aleman and Anthony Zuniga Jr., business owners of Mas Fresno, wanted to create an additional space for vendors. Their space on Mariposa Plaza has become synonymous with Arthop, with vendors and musical acts setting up just outside their business on the first Thursday of every month.

“Having another [event like] Arthop, [Rocha and Rodriguez] have the right idea to have another day to celebrate the artists, crafters and vendors,” Aleman said.

He told The Collegian once he heard about the news, he immediately coordinated the day with the vendors to have it all ready by Saturday..

Zuniga Jr., the other creative force of Mas Fresno, is passionate about inviting more artists and providing them with a safe space. 

“We’re just trying to push to the community and kids,” he said. 

He said that Henry Allard Jr., vice president of The Black Chamber of Commerce and community artist, is actively working to give scholarships to the youth of color of Fresno. 

“He’s going to schools and Fresno Unified to just try to get the kids to realize that art is needed in the art of anything. Any kind of art,” Zuniga Jr. said.

“We promote for the culture, we promote for the kids, we promote the community,” he added.

Rehop artists hope to establish a strong support to all mediums of artistic expression. Vendors aligned outside the walls of Broadway Studio, ranging from jewelry makers to a tarot reader. 

Just outside the sticker-bombed door of Broadway Studios, a table was displayed with paints organized for “Rehop” goers to indulge their artistry.

Vendors did not have to pay a fee to set up outside Broadway Studios, something Rocha refuses to do. (Sarah Delgado/The Collegian)

Sometime after the event started, Rocha and Rodriguez organized an open mic to encourage attendees to donate to Ellis Merel, who is a local poet looking to go to Baltimore to compete in a national slam poetry competition. 

Emceed by Michael Jasso, a poet representing “Loud Mouth Poetry Jam” of Visalia, he called upon volunteers to take the mic in spilling loud thoughts and airing out emotions.

“I’m a big believer in community. I’m a big believer in self-empowerment. And I feel like it’s possible. I feel like if you are a creative person in town, and you want to make things happen, you have that power inside of you,” Rocha said.

If you missed the grand opening, Rehop will return next month on Feb. 18 at Broadway Studios.

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