The South Valley’s top artists display their work this weekend during South Valley Art Tour
By Nancy Vigran
Reporter for the Sun-Gazette
VISALIA – From Three Rivers to Tulare, Springville to Visalia, the South Valley Art Tour offers art lovers a way to not only view a whole lot of art in one weekend, but to meet many of the local artists as well. You’ll get to see woodworking, basketweaving, sculptures, jewelry art, calligraphy, photography, and painting through oils, acrylics, watercolor, and spray paint. And, that’s just a partial list.
It all takes place on Saturday and Sunday, March 30 and 31, with many former favorites and some new artists added into the mix. And, it’s a little different this year in that more artists will be gathered into less spots offering visitors less driving time, and more art viewing and artist talking time.
While visual artist Daniel Borilla has had his art displayed in the area, this is his first time involved in the South Valley Art Tour.
“It feels great coming back into the community I grew up in and making a difference in any way I can,” the Cal State, Long Beach grad said.
“I fell in love with this particular medium my sophomore year in high school when I took a film photography class. The film developing process and the versatility the camera provided definitely kept me engaged.”
With his bachelor’s degree in photography, Bonilla hopes to further his education with a master’s degree, but right now he is happy displaying his art.
“I hope to inspire people to express themselves colorfully,” he said. “To not be afraid to use every color of the crayon box, and to not bend to society’s constructs of how one should live.”
Bonilla’s is a proud member of both the Latino and the LGBTQ+ communities. His art will be on display at his studio during the tour.
Basketweaving and gourd artist Toni Best will have her work on display at the Arts Consortium. Best’s love for basketweaving began when her eighth-grader teacher shared the experience with her class. That was 50 years ago and Best has been creating baskets ever since.
More recently she began exploring how to incorporate gourds into pine needle weaving to obtain a quicker artwork more for her art students than herself. However, the art form has taken off for her and her work is in great demand throughout the state and the country. Most recently Best has had two of three pieces she submitted accept into the National Basketry Organization’s annual show.
Nate Norman is pretty new to the art world having started only about a year ago. But, he’s taken the local art world by storm! He is a self-taught artist who works primarily with spray paint. For some of his work he also utilizes perler beads on top of the painted scenery to create a three-dimensional piece.
“I often get inspiration from pop culture, video games, or even dreams,” he said.
Displaying his art at his own studio, “I am really excited to be a part of the tour this year,” he said. “I often have people ask about the process and how I create my pieces. Now they can see firsthand and check out some of the larger paintings I’ll be doing.”
Porterville artist Joy Collier, who has been involved with the tour since its conception, said she is glad it is condensing artists into groups, allowing attendees the opportunity to see more of them in one place. While some of her art will be on display at the Porterville Art Association Studio, she and more of her work will be located at Steven Ball’s studio in Springville.
Collier is a landscape artist who often depicts the scenes of Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite, as well as views noticed while driving the roadways of the Central Valley. Her medium is acrylics.
The art tour allows her, and other artists, to “get more exposure,” she said, and also “gives people a better look at your work.”
She encourages people to attend, but they don’t have to necessarily catch every location, she added.
Passports for the South Valley Art Tour are available at the Arts Consortium, 300 E. Oak Ave. in Visalia, Burford Frames & Gallery, 39 W Putnam Ave. in Porterville, and online at eventbrite.com.
Tickets are $25 and admit two people to every location on the tour.