Spring is in the Air

Celebrate spring along the Fresno Co Fruit & Blossom Trail #MadeInFresno! Panoramic orchards alive with fragrance and bursting with blooms, Continue reading Spring is in the Air

Real Customer Service

In the early 1890s a young man joined the family dry goods business.
He gained more responsibility becoming the manager and eventually dreamed of his own business.

For this young man a chance conversation with TW Patterson opened the door to fulfill his dream in 1904. The new store carried the finest of everything: cloaks, trims, millenry, dresses and a unique candy department. Service was THE word they built their reputation on. They would remain open until the last customer went home; sometimes at midnight!

As profits grew the owner purchased property at the site of an old stage stop. When it opened it featured a wonderful modern amenity – water cooled air conditioning. As the business grew many more branches were opened.

The Gottschalk name became renowned and has been part of Fresno since Emil Gottschalk fulfilled his dream here. Sadly, the recent failure and closing of this institution has left us with a hole in the community. All is not lost however, with one of Emil’s distant nephews announcing he will open a new version of Gottschalks in Clovis.

The former Gottschalk’s building is a beautiful art deco style. Once a high-end downtown department store, it is now operated as low-end swap mall. While it awaits renovation some of the windows have been painted as modern murals. We explore this historic building and many more tastes on the next Urban Taste adventure Saturday April 7th.

Half-off tickets available through Friday night! Otherwise show up 4/7 10am at the Clock Tower $49 pp includes all food: cash only.

Rob Carey is an American school teacher living in Kandern, Germany; He’s also an artist and even has ties back to Fresno. Frequently sketching the area around where he lives Rob also chronicles his travels to other locations around Europe or the US while on furlough.

“Until recently, my sketching consisted of chalkboard doodles for my students, but this year I began working in a sketchbook with pencils, fine point pens and watercolor” shares Rob.

The Rhine River, just minutes from the borders of Switzerland and France is his home now. This makes an ideal location for sketching a variety of images, from the crowded streetcars of Basel, to the half-timbered houses of the Alsace region. With an eye for the minutest detail Rob sketches the old farmhouses just down the road. You know, the one with the gaping cracks and
the crooked shutters or houses that hold hundreds of memories and stories from years gone by.

Rob’s sketches vary between a loose, informal feeling and more controlled architectural renderings. They often explore a fascination with light and shadow affecting architectural forms.
Rob’s work came to my attention via a friends post of a recent drawing. The subjectwas the Warnors Theater. I was amazed by the detail given to the piece but did not pay much attention to who the artist was. As happens sometimes, I had just participated in a conversation culminating with a request to find some local art that could be used for All Things Fresno gallery. They were looking for a work to represent the store. Remembering the sketch I pulled it up. I was quite surprised to see who the artist was. I never knew Rob as an artist… I knew him and his lovely family as missionaries teaching in Kandern.

And the rest of the story? You’ll have to stop by All Things Fresno soon and find out! They’re open T-Sat 12-4 located in hte historic Warnors building on Fulton.

Every Face Tells a Story

Ma Ly is living his dream. Growing up in France Ma always dreamt of being an artist but did not think he could make a living at it. Instead Ma worked in the movie industry. Yet, art opened doors and Ma now tells stories of life and history as a portrait artist living in Fresno. “Portraits are made to last” states Ma. “They document reality and remind future generations of history”.
It is that philosophy which directs Ma’s work. Inspired by faces of today and some of history past, Ma creates portraits in a very realistic style common of European portraitists. “In every painting I try to think ‘what if I was there?’” shares Ma.
Through each stroke of Ma’s brush a story is told in the faces he paints. From his niece in a French school girl uniform to General Pao’s proud depiction, Ma’s talented hand tells a story on canvas.
Ma also shares his talent generously; with many of his portraits of historical figures presented to family as a tribute. And Ma gives of himself in teaching art to local students.
You can experience Ma’s work each ArtHop by stepping into his Collegio at the Broadway Studios. The Broadway Studio building is full of art; inside out and About Town Taste includes it on the next walking adventure Aug 12th or 13th. If we’re lucky, Ma might be able to meet us too!
If you would like to join the adventure on Friday the 12th or Saturday the 13th please contact us via info@AboutTownTaste.com or 559.392.4471 so we can let the artists and restaurants know how many will be stopping by on the tour.

Photos by May Ly.

Fresno Across Time

There came a man from the Indian battles of Montana, a gambler of sorts, who gambled big and left us with the city we know today….late 1872, making purchases of dry goods and whiskey he gambled in bribing the railroad conductor to be let off at the new location of Fresno Station. This was forbidden at the time as no freight had yet been allowed south of Merced. When the train neared the stop it slowed but did not stop! Faber rushed to get his supplies as the bribed conductor began tossing everything from the train just north of what we know today as Belmont. This pioneer gathered up everything scattered over a half mile and set up shop in a tent next to the soon to come official train stop becoming the first merchant and resident of Fresno Station, soon joined by others.

Church Ditch Barn 1872 Fresno California.

This humble stop sprouted dirt roads and a few buildings of wood frame. By 1877 it had been named J street. On the corner of Tulare & J stood the office of the Expositor, next door, the boarding house soon named the Jones Hotel.

Expositor office 1874 Fresno California.

Just north of the Expositor, an oddly shaped building emanating loud, unusual noises within. Stepping inside one found the source of the strange emanations; a boiler engine powering a millstone crushing grain for feed stock. Soon it was perfected and began producing fine flour for the town’s new citizens known as Church’s Champion Mill and later relocated further along Fresno Street. Today, this original site is home to the Mason building currently vacant on the upper floors, while retail shops occupy the ground floor. The Mason Building is listed on the Local Register of Historic Places and awaits renovation.

Yale Prof. Vincent Scully states “Architecture is a continuing dialogue between generations which creates an environment across time.” The pioneers who came before us and built our city demonstrate the continuing dialogue of our environment across the pages of time. Join About Town Taste on its next adventure through the streets of our pioneers on the Downtown Art & Architecture adventure January 8th 10a. Call to reserve your spot today: 559.392.4471 $15pp

Photos Courtesy Fresno Co Library & UC Callisphere