“A lot of people don’t know we’re here,” Fridley said as she walked the halls of Valverde Plaza. “People will stop by Prevot’s for lunch, and they just happen to stumble onto our gallery. Then they tell their friends. People are finding out about us through word of mouth, but we still seem to be a secret from most of the community.”
Fridley Art Gallery is officially a single room located on the second floor of Valverde Plaza on First Street, but the work of 46 local artists graces the walls of the entire building, covering the walls in the hallways and stairwells. If there’s a naked surface, Fridley finds a piece to hang on it. The result is a collage of more than 150 items of art throughout the plaza.
“I don’t think people realize how many talented people live in this area. I feature work from artists throughout the Bay Area, but many of the artists are from Brentwood, Discovery Bay and Antioch. People who come by ask what the theme is, but there’s no conceptual theme – the local artists are the theme.”
With no set parameters, Fridley hangs art of all media, from the paintings of Marilyn Pellouchoud to the metal sculptures of Oakley resident Michael Geltz. An amateur artist herself, she also features some of her paintings in the gallery.
All items in the gallery are for sale, and prices are set by the artists. Since the gallery opened in May of 2008, 24 pieces have been sold. Fridley said artists rotate their work every month or so to keep new art in the gallery on a regular basis.
This Saturday, Feb. 21, the Fridley Art Galley will debut a new installment of the Local Artists Show series. The show will open with an artists’ reception from 4 to 8 p.m. where artists Richard Meyer, Elizabeth Caulboy and Vera Knowles will be on hand to discuss their art and answer questions. Refreshments will also be available.
Meyer, a Brentwood resident, will display oil paintings, some of which feature familiar scenes. For example, his painting “The Old Church” is of Mission Valley Church on First Street in Brentwood.
Caulboy, whose work has been on display in the gallery since August, will show her watercolor paintings. Her work focuses on landscapes, and her latest works concentrate on ocean scenes.
Knowles works with acrylic paints. Her piece “Koi Pond” is currently on display on the first floor of Valverde Plaza.
The works of the three artists will be on display in the showroom across from the Fridley Art Gallery’s main room on the second floor. Each artist will display at least 15 items through March 7.
Saturday also marks the debut of the Local Sports Champions Museum, featuring artifacts that reflect the careers of Bay Area athletes. This gallery is a work in progress, but Fridley said she hopes to acquire items representing at least 50 local legends by this summer.
Legendary rodeo star and Brentwood resident Jack Roddy is the prominent athlete currently featured in the museum, along with two-time Super Bowl champion Gordon Gravelle and professional bull rider and Liberty High graduate Colin McTaggart.
Fridley hopes the museum will highlight the careers of some of the area’s little-known sports stars. “I think it is important that we let our local heroes know that we respect them and that we are proud of them. This is a place to celebrate their careers.”
Fridley is constantly on the hunt for new artists to feature as well as athletes to showcase in the new museum. She urges all potential participants to give her a call or drop by the gallery. The rental fee for gallery wall space is $5 to $10 a month, depending on the size of the piece.
The Fridley Art Gallery is located at 613 First St. The main gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. The rest of the art throughout Valverde Plaza is on display weekly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call Fridley at 510-882-1193.