ArtHop: a beginner’s guide


Photograph By Alyssa Rockey

Local artists portrayed as saints in the GSA building on ArtHop.

Alyssa Rockey, Staff Writer

You’re standing in front of a large, vibrant painting, appreciating its artistry and wondering about the artist’s message. Suddenly, you find yourself in a conversation with a  stranger who’s wondering about the same thing. You’re at the Fresno ArtHop, ultimately realizing that the popularity of this event isn’t just about art, but about connecting with others in your community.

With over 60 participating venues, ArtHop is a chance to immerse yourself in downtown Fresno’s diverse, edgy culture while enjoying local art, music, and food with artists and art lovers from all over the Valley.

ArtHop runs from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. However, the 1st Thursday, located in downtown Fresno and Tower District,  features more venues and a larger turnout. ArtHop is a free event, however, patrons may purchase items from snacks and crafts to paintings and sculptures.      

There is no wrong way to go about ArtHop, but here are some helpful guidelines to follow if you’re attending for the first time. I would recommend walking in between destinations as opposed to driving, because you’re able to take in the full atmosphere, including a variety of outdoor stands brimming with unique items sold by artists.

If you walk down Van Ness street, starting at Fulton, you’ll run into the most venues. As for food, businesses such as Ampersand ice cream and Quesadilla Gorilla can be found near the cross streets Echo and Weldon. If you are interested in music, The Downtown Club located on Kern street periodically offers live performances and food during ArtHop. In terms of consistently great gallery shows, Arte Americas, Broadway Studios and the Chris Sorensen studio reportedly offer the most.  

Not only do you need to attend for the entertainment, but to support your local artists and what they’ve created. “ArtHop is an event to showcase upcoming emerging artists, and a chance for them to show their art,” states local artist Becenti Velazquez.

ArtHop lives up to its reputation as a colorful cultural environment, mixed with endless opportunities to meet fascinating, surprisingly friendly people. ArtHop attendee and CMAC employee Gary Johnson states; ”ArtHop is the biggest non-promoted activity in downtown Fresno.”

It’s this lack of commercialization that intimidates some ArtHop newcomers who think they don’t know where to start or where to go, but you’re guaranteed a memorable experience by just showing up and exploring the area. For all the venue options, you can see the map of ArtHop here.