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Central California Life Magazine

Channel your inner artist in downtown Fresno

Jan 13, 2016 12:05PM ● By Kevin

People who hang out in downtown Fresno choose it as their place for myriad reasons.

But if you were to survey 100 Tioga-Sequoia Beer Garden hipsters about what they love the most about downtown, chances are a pretty huge chunk of them would say something to the effect of the music and art scene. And 100 tipsy hipsters can’t be wrong, right?

Right! Thanks to the Fresno Arts Council’s Art Hop activating the heck out of the Cultural Arts District, South Stadium and pockets along the The Fulton Mall, more and more people are recognizing downtown as the place to go to consume art.

What’s interesting is that the more people come downtown for music festivals, art shows and even fashion shows, the more opportunities pop up for people to get their creativity flowing in downtown Fresno.

Here are some of the better art experiences in the downtown area:

Sublime Time Experience

When you think of who uses studio space at places such as M Street Arts Complex (1419 M Street), you probably imagine classically trained, fine artists who are covered in paint and talk about famous artworks with names you can’t pronounce.

Would it surprise you to know that at Sublime Time, you, or your weird cousin, unimaginative co-worker, or fun-loving best friend are actually the artists? Well, you could be, anyway, if you sign up for a Sublime Time Experience.

Art students work on their renditions of a black cat at Sublime Time.

Artist and instructor Denine Bennet will guide you through the entire process of creating a work of art from first brush stroke to signing your name at the bottom. Basically, you show up, hang out and get to go home with a finished painting and the smug satisfaction of being an artist.

You can learn more at

Coloring for Grown-Ups at Peeve’s

“Thanks to the Fresno Arts Council’s Art Hop activating the heck out of the Cultural Arts District, South Stadium and pockets along the Fulton Mall, more and more people are recognizing downtown as the place to go to consume art.”

You can’t throw a grown-up diva tantrum these days without inadvertently knocking over a newsstand lined with coloring books for adults. The notion that coloring is a mindful practice has taken off, and it has become an alternative to meditation to many of the can’t-stop-checking-my-work-e-mail-even-though-it’s-midnight folks out there.

Well, Peeve's Public House (1243 Fulton Mall) took the adult coloring craze one step further and offers Coloring for Grown-Ups once a month. The whole affair is a BYOCB (bring your own coloring book), and the entire dining room, as well as outdoor dining area and beyond, are packed with grown-ups sipping saison and comparing coloring books with one another.

Cameraderie, craft beer and coloring. Now that’s some serious stress relief. Coloring for Grown-Ups happens on the last Tuesday evening of the month. Don’t forget your markers! 

Songwriters and Creative Writing Workshops at Jewel FM

If you can paint a picture with words better than you ever could with a brush, or if your guitar gently weeps because it hasn’t had a play date in such a long time, the Gallery at Jewel FM (1415 Fulton St.) has been hosting regular Songwriters and Creative Writing workshops.

These events are designed to get local talent together to help each other work through new material, show off old material and be inspired by one another. Songwriter workshops are the last Wednesday of the month, and Creative Writing is still on a month-by-month basis as it gets established.

Downtown is chock full of artists, and many of them are working to grow the community, one student at a time.
Broadway Studios Nigel Robinson provides classical art instruction at his Broadway Studios location.

Visit and follow to stay updated on the dates and times of workshops.

Fine Art Lessons

So you’ve painted a tree at sunset with a group of other people, and after a few local IPAs, your coloring game is fierce. You want to delve deeper into your artistic side, but where can you go to learn more?

Downtown is chock full of artists, and many of them are working to grow the community, one student at a time. Here are a few to choose from to boost your art skills:

• Nigel Robertson boasts classical art instruction and will give you an atelier-style studio experience as you learn to paint and draw in his Broadway Studios location. Learn more at

• French painter Ma Ly is self-taught, and he now teaches painting to the very young (ages 7 and up) and the not-so-young out of his space at M Street Arts Complex. Visit for more information.

• If drawing with lifelike accuracy is your aim, aim yourself toward the TW Patterson Building and learn all about realism and drawing the human figure from Marcos Dorado. Check out

This is only a small sampling of the ways you can flex your creative muscle in downtown Fresno. Now get out there and make something!

Written by Kim Leonard.

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Happy Reading,

Karen Maroot