HANFORD — After a months-long hiatus, the art hops again.
Art in the Heart is a monthly art hop event organized by local artist Nate Odom. On the second Tuesday of the month, about a dozen downtown businesses stay open late to host artists and musicians, giving them an outlet while giving shoppers extra ambiance.
The art hop began in 2016 and took a hiatus over the summer due to the heat and declining attendance, but Odom is hoping that the break has recharged the event’s batteries.
“Even when we don’t have a huge turnout we always have a really cool vibe, which is really what it’s all about,” he said.
The organizer said that he realizes that getting Art in the Heart the attention and the attendance needed to sustain it will be a “gradual process,” but he thinks it’s a worthy endeavor.
“We’re not trying to create culture downtown. It’s here, we just have to give it some fuel,” he said.
This month’s event, set for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, will feature art and music at 11 spots downtown including the Children’s Storybook Garden, Lush, Divine Creations, DJ’s Collectibles, Beautifully Damaged, Urban Gypsies, Kings Gospel Mission, Crossroads, Rock N’ Roll Deli, Independent Music and the Hanford Antique Emporium.
In addition to the arts and shopping, Odom will be filming a short film entitled “Fight the Dark,” which he described as “post–apocalyptic.” Anyone attending the art hop may find themselves in the background of the finished product, Odom said.
“I can only think of one other short filmed downtown, so I think it will be fresh,” he said.
Over the course of the film, a group made up of local musicians playing themselves scavenges at local shops, eventually finding an old document – the map of all the real-life art hop locations.
The film will be a mix of artistic narrative and commercial advertisement for the art hop itself, which seems to fully embrace the art hop aesthetic mix of art and commerce.
Odom is hoping to screen the film at a local theater when it’s complete.
“Fight the Dark” follows local musicians Amanda Braden, John Glaspie and Marisa Robison and Matthew Girouard on their journey to the Storybook Garden and Museum, where the latter will actually be performing Tuesday evening.
Storybook Garden program coordinator Rebecca Bell said that the museum’s participation in the art hop helps raise awareness of the organization’s community programs and volunteer opportunities.
The art hops also provide a valuable platform for local artists who may not have dedicated shelf space in local stores.
With very few places in Kings or Tulare counties for readers to buy physical copies of books, art hop events give local authors like Janie Isidoro a way to find their potential readers.
“Being invited to [events] is helpful. I feel like I have a lot of support from my community, like they’re rallying. It’s invaluable,” Isidoro said.
The author said that she’s better at getting the word out to potential readers when she’s “socializing” face-to-face and is currently in the midst of a Valley-wide book tour in support of her debut novel, “Let Me Take You,” a romance centered around the San Joaquin Valley.
In addition to having appeared at Hanford’s Day of the Dead celebration last week, Isidoro will appear at Beautifully Damaged, 219 N. Irwin St., Tuesday evening and Linda’s Used Books in Visalia at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, among other stops.
Her book will be available at Linda’s Used Books and online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
She said the second book in the series will be released sometime in January and will be followed by a book tour of Southern California.
“We’re taking the Central Valley down south,” she said.
In the future, Odom plans to launch a Patreon account for the art hop, using donated funds to pay for event promotion, to compensate musicians and buy equipment for the event.
“Every month, the musicians donate two hours of their time — and their equipment,” Odom said, adding that it’s “only fair” to seek funds to compensate them.
Musicians are also invited to sell their albums and merchandise at events and can accept donations.