Wednesday, June 23, 2021


Art on display in Colusa

Emely Valdez, right, a 15-year-old Colusa High School student, is an inspiring artist, whose work was on display for the first time at the Colusa County Arts Council outdoor exhibit on Friday.

The Colusa County Arts Council held its second post pandemic art walk for people to casually stroll outside in Colusa’s downtown, and take in an exhibit and sale.

Friday evening could not have been a better night for such an event, said Director Sharon Reische.

“The smoke from the wildfires cleared out and we can all take a deep breath,” Reishe said.

The weather, a comfortably cool evening, also contributed to the evening’s success, as people perused art over the course of a few hours.

From the work of established artists and residents like Mary Ann Nation and Jim Beduhn, to first time exhibitors like Shannon Thompson and Emely Valdez, the art walk once again had a large variety of paintings and photographs.

As did the event in July, the Arts Council’s art walk gave some exhibitors the opportunity to put their work on display for the very first time.

“I’ve alway been interested in art, even as a kid,” said Valdez, 15. “I’m in high school now and art is something I want to focus on, even possibly as a career in the future. Hopefully, this will give me more exposure, especially in town.”

Valdez is self-taught and uses acrylic on canvas to paint a variety of subjects that reflects her desire to eventually immerse herself in a variety of artforms, including illustration and design.

“Anything I can get my hands on,” she said.

Among her paintings on display was a self portrait that was a Colusa High School art assignment, during the Covid-19 quarantine, based on the style of famed Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, known for her many brilliantly-colored self portraits.

Valdez’ self-portrait, with Kahlo’s well-known unibrow included, incorporates five colorful butterflies that represent the hopes and dreams of her and her four siblings for the future, but includes tears for an incredible life-changing event like a pandemic.

Emely Valdez, right, a 15-year-old Colusa High School student, is an inspiring artist, whose work was on display for the first time at the Colusa County Arts Council outdoor exhibit on Friday.

Photographer Shannon Thompson was another first time exhibitor with photographs largely inspired by the outdoors and California’s fabulous wildlife.

Thompson recently purchased two Chinatown units and moved to Colusa from Butte County, with the hope of eventually opening an Airbnb in the apartment in one of the units, and possibly a business where she can sell her work.

“I just moved here in February,” Thompson said. “I used to take a lot of pictures here and really wanted to find a place to buy.”

Thompson is a contributing photographer to Getty Images and her images are often used in scientific articles. Thompson has a juris doctor degree, but it’s the recent associate’s degree that she received from Butte College that propelled her to her true calling – an event photography business called Supercaliphotolistic.

While her work, including a link to her stock catalogue, can be viewed on her website, the Colusa Arts Council will have a video monitor in the window where people can view Thompson’s work without entering the gallery.

Friday’s musical entertainment was provided by Steven Hayes, 21, of Marysville.

Hayes, a self-taught musician who played his bass and electric guitar, was inspired as a child by 1970s musical groups like Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac, who he idolized for their abilities, especially on the guitar.

“No one in my family was particularly musical, but I’ve always had a love for music and a desire to make music,” said Hayes, who also plays the piano and other instruments.

Hayes currently performs at the Lutheran Church, but said he hopes to become an elementary school music teacher so he can share his love for music with children.

“Kids in elementary school are sponges when it comes to picking up music,” he said.

About 50 people enjoyed the art walk on Friday, with the Arts Council providing masks, sanitizer and water.

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