News Column

San Angelo Standard-Times, Texas Rick Smith column

June 25, 2014

By Rick Smith, San Angelo Standard-Times, Texas

June 25--SAN ANGELO, Texas -- I don't know how many times I have driven past a shop called Zada DÉcor at 102 S. Chadbourne St. on my way to and from work.

I had no idea what was inside the building, but thanks to Art Walk, I finally found out.

What's an Art Walk? Just what it sounds like. Every third Thursday of a month downtown looks and sounds a bit brighter and noisier.

Stores that normally close their doors at early in the evening may stay open until 9 p.m.

Walkers stroll the sidewalks, wandering into buildings here and there.

It's a long walk from College Avenue on the north side of downtown to the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts on the southside. Trolleys run back and forth picking up and dropping off Art Walkers at no charge.

Music from different bands rolls from buildings, then rolls down the street.

Part of the fun of Art Walk is seeing people you seldom see. The other part is coming across shops, cafes, coffee shops, ice cream parlors and restaurants we've never visited.

That brings me back to my first-ever visit to Zada DÉcor Thursday.

I felt like I was walking into a foreign movie. The shop's full of exotic furniture and decorations from around the world. Whatever you do, don't miss the stone tub just inside the door.

Back on the walk, I missed artist Raul Ruiz whose studio is next to Zada. Instead, I headed over to the Kendall Art Gallery to see their excellent "Red" art show.

The Kendall wasn't alone. SAMFA admitted everyone free for its showing of fantastic ceramic art from the spring national competition.

An art exhibit and sale at the Cactus Hotel was running at full speed upstairs in the mezzanine of the beautiful old building while a band played below in the lobby and an exhibition of gorgeous old cars sat ready to roll outside.

My plan was to walk to every one of the 16 places listed on my Art Walk map. I ran out of time and energy before even reaching the exhibits at the Stephens Central Library.

I did get to listen to Manny Campos, a fabulous one-man band playing Billy Joel tunes on his piano and singing the sweet songs.

And I saw what makes some of the shops unique, like 1-of-One, which sells handmade light fixtures and other interesting hardware made by Justin Poehls at 113 E. Concho Ave., the corner of Concho Avenue and South Oakes Street.

"I enjoy looking for junk and remaking it," he said.

Art Walkers are a friendly bunch, and I talked to everyone I ran into, from Theresa Mathews, who was selling interesting items from a folding table near the corner of South Chadbourne Street and Twohig Avenue, to Mary Valva, owner of the Glass Prism at 225 S. Chadbourne Ave.

Mary was one of the walk's founders when the idea of an Art Walk was proposed more than six years ago.

"It's grown tremendously since it started," she said. "There were a lot of bumps and hiccups along the way, but we've got it pretty much figured out now."

Mary, who always opens her shop for the monthly Art Walk, said every month is a little different.

"You have people painting in courtyards or coming to see for themselves how many artists we have here," she said.

Art Walk isn't about just selling things, she told me.

"It's a fun night for me, and if I can get someone to come in who has never been here before that's a win. If I sell something, that's icing on the cake."


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Source: San Angelo Standard-Times (TX)

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