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Third Thursday art walk showcases local talent

on December 16, 2011

Paintings by Jim DeWitt. The painting on the left is titled, "Sexy." His work can be seen at the Point Richmond Art Collective. (photo by: Lexi Pandell)

A man in a cowboy hat yells, “Center of the art world!”

He’s in the courtyard of Refined by Fire Art Gallery along with a dozen other people. Wine passes around in plastic cups, flickering torches chase off a bit of the night’s chill and musicians strum funky tunes. A cigarette dangles from a guitarist’s mouth.

Refined by Fire is not alone tonight. Point Richmond is dotted with glowing storefronts, mostly art galleries and artisans.

For the last four months, Point Richmond has hosted Third Thursdays, an open art walk from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

Point Richmond is re-inventing itself as an art hub. Manuel Huertas, an abstract painter and architect, has lived in Point Richmond for almost 40 years. There weren’t many artists or galleries when he first moved to the area, Huertas said, but the scene began to change 15 years ago.

But, still, few know about this unique culture.

“This little town, you go by it on the freeway and you ignore it,” Huertas said.

The art walk is one of the efforts to draw attention to local crafts.

Glass work by Michael Hill. For Hill, functionality is a key facet of his pieces. "I want people to pick up my work and look at it," he said. Clocks by Steve Hurst can be seen in the background. Both Hill and Hurst

Steven Nuss, artist and owner of Refined by Fire, co-founded the art walk with local clockmaker Steve Hurst.

“We’ve been working as a group to try and make the art walk a bit more known,” he said.

Joe Sanger, El Cerrito resident and ceramist, is a long-time patron of Point Richmond restaurants and his son even worked as headwaiter of the Hotel Mac. But this was his first time showing his art in town.

“I came out to Point Richmond for a high school reunion a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “I came in [to Refined by Fire] with pictures [of my ceramics]. And now, here I am.”

Father-daughter team Jim and Pam DeWitt founded the Point Richmond Art Collective two years ago. The gallery is a key collaborator with the art walk and features everything from abstract photography to ironwork to Jim DeWitt’s renowned maritime paintings.

Paintings by Susan Shore. She entered in a 50-50 show in Pacifico where artists did one painting every day for 50 days. Shore chose to do paintings of dogs. Her work can be seen at the Susan Shore Studio. (photo by: Lexi Pandell)

The DeWitt Gallery recently expanded and Pam DeWitt said they hope to partner with at least 20 more artists and enlarge the space even more.

With a growing audience and increased artist participation, art walk organizers hope the event will continue developing. Nuss plans to get street performers and artists set up along the sidewalk for upcoming events.

As the name might imply, Third Thursdays are held on the third Thursday of every month. The next art walk will be on Jan. 19.

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