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Pomona draws crowds for Art Walk

David Cone helps artist Rachel Walker sell her drawings at the Pomona Art Walk on March 10. Cone was also selling skateboards with his own personal designs. The Pomona Art Walk starts at 3 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month and 6 p.m. on the last Saturday. The Art Walk serves as a place to admire local talent as well as a place for artists to sell their work. Various art galleries take part in the event and is open to the public. / photo by Cassandra Egan

Shelby Nelson
Staff Writer

The Pomona Art Walk is diverse in its artistic fervor and sparkles the city with originality and inspiration.

On the second and last Saturday of every month, residents of Pomona and the surrounding cities gather to enjoy various collections of sculptures, tattoos and paintings.

This art-filled event takes place in Pomona’s art colony, where the neighborhood has given a home to numerous artistic pieces.

More than three dozen art galleries host receptions for their latest exhibits.

“I believe it’s better than the Los Angeles art walk,” desk assistant of the Downtown Pomona Owner’s Association Lorena Matarrita said. “Artists come here from all over; it’s very popular and has grown dramatically in the past two years.”

Aside from some of the city’s well-known attractions, such as the Fairplex, the Mission Drive-In Theater or the Mountain Meadows golf course, the art walk is key to what sets Pomona apart from many other cities in Southern California.

Cultural Arts Commissioner Andi Campognone said that live music, outdoor performances, craft fairs and public sculpting are a few aspects that make the event special.

The art walk is a night filled with vibrancy and fun, with free admission for all who attend.

Many restaurants, shops and other establishments near the arts colony make sure to stay open especially late, not only to bring in extra business, but also to participate in this distinctive cultural expression of the city.

“We do this just to get our stuff out there,” musician and artist Ayoueskay said. “We need more people, we need more artists.”

The event gives artists a chance to showcase their newly-created art.

As part of the small craft fair that goes around in the center of it all, artists are able to sell their work while viewing the creations of nearby booths where others display their work.

“Everything inspires my art,” Riverside-based henna artist Debora Varvi said. “I draw my inspiration from all sources. It started with traditional henna designs from Morocco.”

Varvi is an artist who came across henna while on a shopping spree with a group of her friends 13 years ago.

At first, she did not know what henna was, but after learning what it is and how it works, Varvi was hooked on the art form.

She now makes paintings, crafts and other creations that express the cultural depiction of henna.

“It’s super groovy,” Varvi said. “I like these kinds of street fairs. Here it’s very artsy; they embrace art here. I’m picky about my venues.”

Varvi went on to say that she is not as fond of other venues, such as the public art walls of Venice Beach.

This event has been known to consistently attract a large group of viewers, sometimes gathering more than 5,000 people.

“The city of Pomona absolutely prides itself on this,” Campognone said. “It realizes the quality of life is often based on culture and a lot of the art walk focuses on aspects of culture.”

Shelby Nelson can be reached at shelby.nelson@laverne.edu.

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