Friday, February 6, 2009
First Fridays: Can something this good really be happening in Bakersfield?
Let's face it: culture and the arts just aren't terms one associates with Bakersfield. Obesity, bad air and poor zoning yes, but the arts have long struggled to find a following. But there is the seed of an (albeit small) arts district growing downtown that flourishes the first Friday of every month. It's one of the rare events in town where you actually see college educated kids having fun and networking without fear of being caught in a drunken melee at one of our local bars. Thanks to folks like Don Martin, owner of Metro Galleries (pictured here), a six or eight square block area of downtown comes alive on First Fridays. There are now at least a half dozen art galleries downtown and solid family-owned restaurants like Mama Roomba's and Uricchios and the old standby watering hole Guthrie's Alley Cat will be packed wall to wall. Martin's Metro Galleries over on 19th Street features an array of California artists like Keith Wicks, Mary-Austin Klein and Laddie John Dill.