If Livermore paints it, people will come. At least that’s what artist Anne Giancola believes.
The Bothwell Arts Center manager’s goal is to get people to flock to the city for visual arts exhibits as they do now for theater and musical performances.
A muralist and faux finish artist with a master’s degree in communications, Giancola has worked for four years at the center, which operates under the umbrella of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center (LVPAC).
The Oct. 12 downtown ArtWalk is just one of many Bothwell-sponsored visual arts events Giancola has planned to showcase the town’s flourishing art scene.
Giancola says Livermore offers a golden opportunity for visual arts appreciation because of its central location, beautiful landscape and thriving cultural scene.
“We have wineries, fantastic restaurants, and a very successful performing arts program,” she said.
But Giancola points out visual arts sometimes get lost in the shuffle with so many cultural happenings. “People will travel over the Altamont from Tracy or from the greater Tri-Valley to attend performances at the Bankhead Theater, but I want them to make that same trip to view the bimonthly art exhibits in the Bankhead’s gallery or attend events like the ArtWalk,” she said.
Bothwell Arts Center
While one side of the Bothwell Arts Center is painted an unassuming brown and faces parking spaces, the other side looks out on the vibrant and popular Bothwell Park. A colorful mural painted last summer by Girl Scout Sierra Randel indicates to passersby that this is a place where creative things happen.
Years ago, artists’ studios were spread throughout Livermore, but many have since moved into the Bothwell.
All types of artists — some dabblers, some professionals — set up residence at the center. Many simply want a quiet place to paint outside of their homes. Others are there for the camaraderie and learning opportunities.
The Bothwell Arts Center offers visual arts classes for children and adults, and continuing education for artists.
“We recently had an art coach from San Francisco teach a class on how to price your artwork,” Giancola said.
Visual Arts Around Town
Fall weather usually brings warmer clothing, and even the trees in Livermore get outfitted with their own sweaters crocheted or knitted by local artisans. Giancola says the project is promoted by the center and will happen again this year. The tree sweaters remind the public that Livermore is an art town.
After the popular “Man on the Moon” exhibit at the Bankhead ended late this summer, Giancola started gearing up for the early fall display “Where Art and Nature Meet.” It opened on Sep. 21. The exhibit features local art, California native plants, live birds and a butterfly release.
In November the theme changes to “Worth a Thousand Words.”
Giancola has been curating artwork that combines the power of literature and art. “I want to show artworks alongside complementary poems, journal pages and paintings that have words in them,” she said. The event will also celebrate the fall opening of Towne Center Books in downtown Livermore.
Next spring, the center will feature “Art in the Green” when it celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. “I want to invite the public and open up the art studios,” Giancola said. “There will be art workshops, demos and food trucks.”
Going the Distance
Giancola has concrete goals for Livermore visual arts, such as getting better lighting and more display space in the Bankhead Theater’s exhibit hall.
It’s really the connections with the community she hopes to see grow. She is beginning to work with the Livermore Art Association, the Pleasanton Art League and the Dublin Arts Collective to make the Bothwell a conduit for art and educational programs in the Tri-Valley. She’d also love to partner with Las Positas College to create a student art internship program.
“I feel strongly that people believe they are either ‘artistic’ or they aren’t,” Giancola said. She hopes they will forget what they think about themselves and instead tap into their inner creativity. The Bothwell Arts Center can be the place where everyone is free to explore.