By Erns Valdez
It’s exciting for art lovers to see new art galleries and arts events springing up throughout the Inland Empire. For those who haven't been for awhile, it is even more exciting to see the revitalization of some previously popular arts events.
One such comeback is the art walk in Claremont at the Packing House. Once again it has become a major attraction for local artists and art lovers alike. Downtown Claremont is home to some of the area's best galleries and hosts many stores that sell merchandise hand made by local artists and creative types. For many artists, it’s not easy to show artwork in many of these venues. This is what’s made the Packing House a recent success. It is a free venue for local artists to show their art and a welcome showcase for new artists. This is something that is much needed in the Inland Empire arts scene.
A lot more than showing art goes on during an art walk. These type of events are also great networking sites for artists, gallery owners and those who support the arts.
The Claremont Artwalk is a Village Martketing Group event and its newly appointed coordinator for the Packing House is Rebecca Ustrell. In the four months that she has been organizing the event, she has taken an area that would have only one or two artists and turned it into highly desirable and well organized event that now has a waiting list of participants. Those who are interested in showing their artwork, fear not, because the Packing House is in the process of expanding this portion of the art walk into an adjacent building. With this new expansion comes opportunities for more artists and outdoor musicans. Success such as this is not the work of only one person. The marketing, map making and behind-the-scenes work is done by Janelle Rensch, an executive team member of the Village Marketing Group.
To those who have never organized and maintained such an event, I can personally confirm that it is a very rewarding and demanding job. I wanted to include the picture below of a very tired Ustrell overlooking a successful art walk night, taking a moment to rest and take pride in what she’s accomplished. Like many other organizers of arts related events, Ustrell is not paid for her time and work. It is a true labor of love and already many are grateful for the work she has done. Ustrell is an artist herself and by organizing this event she has had the chance to get back into art, giving her an opportunity to interact with visitors and fellow artists. One thing that sets the Claremont Art Walk apart from other art walks is that you will find more artists painting at the event. You will even find Ustrell at a table drawing guests and other artists. There really is an atmostphere of community and creativity at the Packing House.
To launch a revitalization of this type of event during the hot summer months is a huge undertaking and challenge. Its success proves that the arts are well and alive. All participating artists need places to show their work, and it looks like Claremont is populated with those who appreciate the arts. A supportive and welcoming location mixed with the return of the cool fall evenings looks to be a recipe for a great season of art.
Speaking of seasons, change and fruitful futures, how perfect of a venue for such an event is a restored packing house? The packing house is home to many upscale bars, restaurants, a coffee shop and many other shops, stores and businesses.
The Claremont Packing House offers a great way to spend a few hours, but we highly recommend venturing off and exploring the other galleries and unique businesses only found in Claremont. There are art walk maps availalbe that show where the other participating galleries are located and they are all withing walking distance of each other. There are many galleries, but here are a few of our recomended galleries in Claremont. All are open daily and often have many events and showings throughout the year.