Leading the way in holiday festivities, this week’s inaugural Downtown Bishop Chocolate Art Walk will be a combination of a grand opening, art, music and, yes, chocolaty treats.
Event founder and key organizer Bruce Licher encourages everyone to attend his and wife Karen Neilsen Licher’s grand opening of The Project Room gallery in their shop, Independent Press Project, which is the centerpiece of the art walk’s agenda from 5-8 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 15.
Photographer/graphic designer Licher said the seeds of the Chocolate Art Walk were planted during a discussion with Peter Schultz, owner of Black Sheep Coffee Roasters, where Licher and painter/photographer Nielsen Licher’s work was exhibited in May. Licher thought it would be nice to bring past evening art walks back to life in downtown Bishop, he said, and many others in the local art community agreed, jumping on board as a way to “connect more to the community. It all came together very quickly and organically.”
More than 20 artists, musicians and merchants will offer “special art openings, musical performances, interactive video installations, and free unique chocolate treats at every location,” Licher said. This weekend, a Chocolate Art Walk event map and flyer will be posted on http://www.facebook.com/IndependentProjectPress .
The Chocolate Art Walk map pinpoints all 10 walk locations and lists planned events as follows:
1. There will be an open studio at Steven White Woodworking, 336 Hammond St. Open studio means that the artist is opening his or her work space “to the public for viewing, to show what they do, possibly give demonstrations and sell the things that they have created,” Licher explained. A rocking chair in progress and other furniture and gift item creations will be on display.
2. An exhibit at Bishop Art Supply, 125 N. Main St., will feature Annie Barrett Cashner along with other gallery artists. 2nd Wind will provide live music from 6-7:30 p.m.
3. Inyo Council for the Arts, 137 S. Main St., will hold a closing celebration for its exhibit of paintings, photography and pottery by Lynn Marit Peterson, Joy Niewald, Tom Meyers and Roberta McIntosh. The works of guest artists Christine Eyer, Maryann Thomas, Marilyn Hayden, Nancy and Ron Overholtz and David Kirk will also be on exhibit.
4. The Venerable Bead, 275-B S. Main St., will display a “fine selection” of world beads, Mid-eastern doumbek and Australian didgeridoo music, fair-trade gift items, jewelry by local artisans and Beverly Schroeder’s photography.
5. The grand opening of The Project Room gallery in Independent Project Press, 186-A Willow St., will feature the work of photographer Joe Profita, a recently-retired Bishop Union High School chemistry teacher. Guests may also tour a working letterpress print shop and view artist/photographer Karen Nielsen Licher and Bruce Licher’s work.
Local songwriter A.E. Downs will perform songs from his self-titled, debut CD at 7 p.m. Downs’ CDs, in triangle-cut packaging which he created in Licher’s introductory letter-press class, will be available for purchase.
Local wood artists John and Gina Webber will have their “free-form woodworking sculptural objects” for sale in a teardrop-trailer storefront, to be located in an adjacent parking lot, Licher added.
6. Black Sheep Coffee Roasters, 232 N. Main St., will offer more art for the eye and ear with paintings by Janice Kabala and music by Milo Cagle. Boutique microbrews will be on tap.
7. At 234-A N. Main St., next to The Black Sheep’s rear entrance, Skandar Reid of Skandar Productions will show his stone sculptures and an interactive video installation. “Come share what you love about chocolate, be yourself in front of the green screen and be part of a video collage,” beckons the art walk flyer.
8. Spellbinder Books, 124 S. Main St., will highlight three local artists: watercolorist Pat Crowther, ceramicist Frances Cholewa and jewelry artisan Sandra Sommer. Other attractions will include a special prize drawing; a new Nuts N’ Twigs eco-boutique space; and organic fair-trade Theo Chocolates for sale.
9. The Secret Sandwich Society, behind Spellbinder at 124 S. Main St., will feature Venetian plaster artist Tom Hovsepian. Hovesepian will be demonstrating his technique, as will pastel artist Theresa Bell, whose greeting cards will be for sale. The Halfway To Benton duo and Amy Friedrichsen will start performing at 6 p.m. Chocolate treats and Mt. Whitney Coffee Roasters coffee will be for sale. Wine, by the glass, will be available for a donation to the Hula Halua O’Koru performance group.
10. Local folk artist Summer Thompson will host an open studio in her historical 1870’s home at 207 May St. Guests may purchase Thompson’s hand-painted silk wall art, “created in a vibration of love,” garments and art greeting cards, states the flyer.
For more information about the Chocolate Art Walk, contact Licher at (760) 873-3600 or firstname.lastname@example.org  or participating artists or businesses.