Like many events in celebration of Pride this month, the Bakersfield Museum of Art’s upcoming Art After Dark will be a showcase of creativity.
From the exceptional visual art on display in the galleries to the live performances and hands-on art projects, attendees will have plenty of creative entertainment to experience on June 30.
While last year’s June Art After Dark culminated in a drag show and dance party, next week’s event will highlight a wide array of performances.
“This year we decided to open it up,” said Victor Gonzales, BMoA’s interim curatorial assistant who is in charge of planning the event. “We have 12 different performers this year — poets, singers, a few drag queens — quite a variety.
“We wanted to showcase not just one group of artists in the community but many of them.”
Event emcee Justin Salinas wrote in an email that he takes his role seriously.
“An emcee is there to facilitate a good time and look great,” he wrote in an email. “I’m going to be making sure that everyone is drunk enough to think I’m entertaining and hot.”
Salinas first got involved with the Pride Art After Dark in 2019, serving as a vendor with his cake and cookie decorating business Cake It With Justin. Serving now as emcee feels like “a full circle moment.”
“It’s always exciting to be a part of events that highlight and support the LGBTQIA community,” he wrote. “We need these events to continue lifting up so many who often feel disenfranchised and discriminated against simply for being who they are.
“As a gay business owner in this community, it’s not just my pleasure but also my duty to remind folks that we exist and we’re only getting fiercer.”
The evening will also feature vendors Luvspun artisanal candy floss and food trucks Get It Twisted (spiral-cut fried potato skewers) and The Teppanyaki Guys. The trucks will set up on the driveway to the east of the museum’s sculpture garden, and there will be tables and chairs inside the banquet space for guests to sit and eat in a cooler space.
Moo Creamery will provide cocktails, made with brands — Tom of Finland Vodka and Puncher’s Chance Bourbon — provided by Wolf Spirits Distillery, which is sponsoring the event along with Moneywise Wealth Management, City Councilman Andrae Gonzales, A La Ritz Drag Brunch Extravaganza and Pedego Bakersfield.
Drinks will feature Moo’s fresh juices with options including a vodka watermelon lemonade (also available as a mocktail); bourbon with fresh lime, fresh orange and honey; and vodka with carrot juice, fresh ginger, coconut milk and lime.
Beer and hard seltzers will also be available.
Guests can also tour the current exhibitions — “Personal to Political: Celebrating the African American Artists of Paulson Fontaine Press,” “Under the Kern County Sky: Prapat Sirinavarat” and “Exploring the Figure: Selections from BMoA’s Permanent Collection” — or create some art of their own.
Projects include a make-your-own unity bracelet, allowing attendees to customize their design with colored beads.
The other hands-on craft is a rainbow scratchboard, which Gonzales said he is hoping guests really get creative with designing. There will be different shapes of scratchboard including hearts, circles and stars.
Participants can create an image by removing the dark with a sharpened tool to reveal the vibrant colorful background.
Gonzales said, “The arts have always celebrated free expression and creativity so it just felt like a perfect match for Art After Dark to close out National Pride Month by also celebrating the LGBTQ+ community who have always been heroes of self-expression. I am hoping with this event all guests feel welcomed, safe, celebrated and of course have a great time!”
Salinas also sees the value in creative expression.
“Creativity and self-expression was and still is my only way I survive in this world,” he wrote. “Like me and many others, it’s important to play with every crayon in the coloring box and the LGBTQIA community does it flawlessly. Name a better person that wears a wig better than a drag queen? I’ll wait.”
The annual event is the museum’s most popular after-hours experience, with around 700 people attending last year.
Gonzales said, “Our capacity will still keep the space fun and enjoyable for the guests attending, a comfortable space for everybody to enjoy.”
He urges people to buy tickets in advance both for the value ($5 versus $10 the day of the event) as well as the possibility that there won’t be tickets available at the door.
“We are consistently pushing as much as we can to buy tickets in advance. This event will sell out.”
Those who don’t want to worry about parking their car can carpool or take a bike, with Pedego Bakersfield and Bike Bakersfield offering a bike valet service for attendees.
Positive Cases Among Kern Residents: 251,888
Recovered and Presumed Recovered Residents: 243,766
Percentage of all cases that are unvaccinated: 75.13
Percentage of all hospitalizations that are unvaccinated: 83.35
RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment