May 23, 2024

Nick Hernandez, right, displays his artistic abilities proudly at the Riverside Art Walk. The art this month ranged from homemade dream catchers to lively music and movie-inspired paintings. Mady De Genner | Banner

On the first Thursday of every month, the Riverside Arts Walk is buzzing with activity on the corner of Lemon and University streets in Downtown Riverside. With free admission, people from all over Riverside come to display their talents.

The monthly themes vary from music, poetry, theater and dance, or as featured on Nov. 6, arts and crafts.

Tom Fantanis has participated in the Arts Walk for three years. He creates what he calls “water-marks,” which he had on display for the event.

“I use dictionary pages or newspaper and paint over it in water color,” Fantanis said.

The themes of the night were Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, which were represented among most vendors. The holidays were expressed through spray-painted records with Star Wars and Disney characters depicted as sugar skulls, dolls whose faces had been painted to become skulls, and pastel paintings of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley as skeletons.

The Arts Walk has been helpful for vendors such as college students Ayesha James and Spencer Humphreys. Together they create displays inside Mason jars lit by a solar panel lid.

“(Spencer) made one for me as a gift and we started playing around with it to see if we could make the light last longer,” James said. “Once we had made a few we thought it would be a good idea to sell them.”

James and Humphreys did not anticipate the popularity their art would gain.

“We now have people special-request scenes as well as encourage us to sell online,” Humphreys said. “We took advice from those (at the Arts Walk) and it’s really paid off.”

Every month people like Fantanis, James and Humphreys participate in the Arts Walk to show their creations.

“Making something just for fun and then discovering you can sell them, especially as college students, is a great feeling,” James said.

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