The Art of Living

Back in 1945, there was a newspaper published in Vallejo called The Vallejo Observer. The first issue was published on Friday, March 30, 1945. The publisher?s pledge was on the front page. The publisher was Arthur W. Scott. The editor of the first issue was Frank S. Shipp. It was a ?black? publication, thriving on Vallejo?s relationship with Mare Island and the servicemen who worked there. The Vallejo Observer featured mostly national stories and some local society type articles. A headline about a local event was featured when someone notable came to town. Some of us might be able to look back nostalgically to when the paper was delivered by a boy you knew, on a bike. Back then the newspaper did not compete with the World Wide Web as a source for the news. But even today, the newspaper remains one of the most engaging of mediums. There is nothing quite like your morning paper. It probably becomes a little greasy from the bit of butter on your fingers. Maybe you spill a little coffee on it. You can let the radio fade to the background of your subconscious mind and just get into your newspaper. You can turn the pages without getting shuffled from one link to another in search of the information you actually want, or might not even know you want yet, until you come across it on the next page, staring back at you like a surprise.

The newspaper is really a document of the art of living. None of us really has a handle on how we are changing, but take one look at those old newspapers and it is very clear that we are indeed changing all the time. The newspaper stays in touch with the pulse of a community, making its work the documentation of how we live, and why we do the things we do over and over again.

The routines set up by deadlines contribute to the sensitivity that newspapers have to social conventions. Many of our most important events and experiences happen, for obvious reasons, after business hours. So a newspaper must become familiar with the social calendar and work within its boundaries. These are the things that make life interesting, make you want to turn the page, and see what else there is that can surprise and delight you, or inform you about something relevant to you. You didn?t know, and might have no other way of making the discovery. You can tune out the TV, keep your sticky bun fingers off your keyboard, and unfold the mystery of a fresh newspaper, one page at a time. Your friendly local reporter was there, documenting the art of living in your place and time.

The art of living in high school. The art of living with pollution. The art of living with regret. The art of living Free. The art of living for a cause. The art of living for yourself. The art of living one more day. The art of living together. The art of living single. The art of cooking for one. The art of cooking for two. The art of cooking for an extended family. The art that is your garden. The art in your garden. The art in your heart. The art of Love.

Then there is the art of living black. The art of living black has been beat into the streets of Vallejo by the heels of service men and workmen and bluesmen, and now the professionals of all sorts, and painters and sculptors and photographers and other exhibiting artists in search of the holy grail of an affordable artist?s studio.

The Richmond Arts Center has included in its Art of Living Black 2006, (now a ten year old event) two satellite exhibitions in Vallejo, at Ethnic Notions Gallery on Georgia Street, (newly transplanted from Benicia), and The Fetterly Gallery on Sonoma Boulevard in the Vallejo Shopping Plaza. You?ll find Michelle Snyder?s take on the exhibition on page five. If you venture in to the back of the shopping plaza, you?ll find the Fetterly Gallery, part of the Vallejo Community Arts Foundation, next to the Tae Kwon Do School. Take a look at the exhibition and write an old fashioned letter to the editor about your take on the art there. Then come downtown to the Ethnic Notions Gallery, across from the Georgia Street Plaza, (on your way down to the historic Vallejo/Mare Island waterfront.) Then come by Listen & Be Heard Poetry Caf?, read the paper, pen a letter to the editor about your experience while you enjoy a hot drink, and drop it in our mailbox before you leave.

The Art of Living Black 2006
GROUP EXHIBITION
Featuring artwork by over 100 artists
January 24 – March 19, 2006, Richmond Art Center
Artist?s Talks: Saturday, February 18, 2 pm
The group exhibition at RAC includes artwork by over 100 emerging and established artists, with additional work by the three Jan Hart-Schuyers Artistic Achievement Award recipients: Raymond L. Haywood, Michael Johnson and Orlonda Uffre.

SELF-GUIDED ART TOUR
Richmond Memorial Auditorium
Saturday & Sunday, March 4 & 5, 11 am – 5 pm
Richmond Center Civic Center Plaza
Macdonald Avenue and 25th Street
Various Bay Area locations
Saturday & Sunday, March 11 & 12, 11 am – 5 pm
The Art Tour will take place over two consecutive weekends. The first weekend (March 4 & 5) over 50 artists will display and sell their work at the Richmond Convention Center?s Memorial Auditorium. The second weekend (March 11 & 12) participating artists invite the public to visit their studios at locations throughout the Bay Area. Artworks for sale include paintings, sculptures, jewelry and ceramics.

SATELLITE EXHIBITIONS
Barnes & Noble Bookstore (Jack London Square, Oakland), Craft and Cultural Arts Gallery (Oakland) Ethnic Notions (Vallejo), Fetterly Gallery (Vallejo). Joyce Gordon Gallery (Oakland), San Pablo Art Gallery (San Pablo), Sargent Johnson Gallery (San Francisco), Women?s Cancer Resource Center (Oakland)

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