By Alastair Bolton
Despite Crockett’s small size, (about 3,000 people) the arts culture of the town is vibrant. The town features three galleries and around 25 private art studios. “Strait Arts” (formally Crockett and Port Costa Artists Guild) was created to bring local artists together, as well as to host open studio events. During Open Studios, the public is invited into galleries and studios to meet artists and to see their work. The events feature painters, sculptors, ceramicists, metal workers, glass workers, jewelers, perfumers, and other mediums as well. Open Studios are held twice per year. During the summer months, it coincides with the Sugar Town Festival in mid July. Crockett being home to C & H Sugar, the sweet theme recurs throughout the town, of course. The Crockett Historical Museum on Loring Avenue houses quite a collection of C & H historical artifacts and town wide memorabilia, old photos etc.
The town hosts many skilled artists. Cary England’s Pomona Street gallery, Cary’s Designs, features her abstract paintings and items with her unique designs. The Bailey Art Museum covers fifty years of the sculptural history of Clayton Bailey. Crockett Pottery features wares in the style of California pottery of the earlier part of the 20th century. Epperson Gallery hosts frequently changing art shows. While the old Milano Hotel has sprung back to life as Milano Arts, providing work spaces for 15 artist and a gallery specializing in local artists work. These are but a few of the many who enrich our area with their work.
Along with the subtle natural beauty of the Carquinez Strait, Crockett also features historical buildings, (such as the Old Homestead), its own interesting history, assorted cultural cuisine, the spoken word and live music at two venues (Toot’s tavern and Valona Deli). This is a good place to appreciate and celebrate positive aspects of creativity in a small factory town atmosphere.
The scenery of Crockett has been subject to many plein air painters’ work. The rolling hills and architecture lend itself well for this purpose. (“En plein air” means to paint out in the open, in natural light.)
Strait Arts organizes events focusing particularly on Open Studios involving around 25 artist from the community. It was first celebrated in 2014. Artists were invited to show their work in various locations throughout Crockett and Port Costa. In 2017, we plan to work with the Crockett Farmers Market in establishing a more constant presence in our community. With the repetitive success for our Open Studios, we’re inspired by Oakland’s “Art Murmur” events in sharing our art community with our neighbors and mixing in with the well known Sugar Town Festival.
Strait Arts events are organized by artist volunteers; Wendy Wilson of Sugar Town Art Glass, Jeremy Burmeister of Malvoye Enterprises, Anna Rockwell, Alastair Bolton of Milano Arts, Kevin Tibbetts and Cherol Ockrassa. Please contact us to get involved with Strait Arts. Culturally, historically and for its natural beauty, Crockett has much to offer. We invite you to come over and get to know our community.