Walnut Creek

Chevron Family Theatre Festival returns July 19

The Chevron Family Theatre Festival returns to the Lesher Center for the Arts July 19, the eighth annual family-friendly event with brand new performers as well as popular favorites.

The festival offers a low-cost day of non-stop theater, dance, and music performances along with visual arts activities both inside and outside the Lesher Center. The event is presented by Chevron, and produced by the Diablo Regional Arts Association and the Lesher Center.

New to the festival this year is Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, which features Gregory Popovich and 30 trained animals including dogs, cats, geese, birds and mice in a comedy/circus act. Popovich rescued and trained the animals in the show. As a juggler, clown and pet trainer, Popovich combines physical comedy, balancing, and acrobatics.

Among returning favorites this year are Sesame Street star puppeteer Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, a central Contra Costa native with years of local theater experience; Alex Ramon Magic, the second annual performance by this Richmond-born-and-raised performer of card tricks, illusions and modern day magic; Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble, who will perform their interactive musical version of "Cinderella;" and the Emmy Award-nominated Pushcart Players, who will perform "Red Riding Hood and Other Stories."

Ticketed shows are $5 each and go on sale Tuesday, June 17. They can be purchased by calling the Lesher Center Ticket Office at 925-943-SHOW (7469) or by visiting www.LesherARTSCenter.org

Bedford Gallery's 'Skull Show' now open

Closing its season, Bedford Gallery will examine the role that skulls have played in the historical register, as memento mori, traditional religious icons, and vanitas themes in still life paintings.

It's "The Skull Show," which also will highlight the role the skull has played in the contemporary arts, exploring its appearance in counter cultures such as skate, surf, tattoo, as well as urban graffiti projects.

The Bedford Gallery is in the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. in Walnut Creek. For more information, go to bedfordgallery.org.

Centennial "Paint-Out" competition

To help celebrate the Walnut Creek Centennial, the Valley Art Gallery -- which is also celebrating an anniversary, its 65th year -- is sponsoring a paint-out before this year's Fourth of July Picnic and Band Concert and Ice Cream Social in Civic Park.

This show will be juried by Bryan Mark Taylor, an award-winning nationally recognized plein-air artist.

Twenty-seven participating artists will have their canvases time-stamped June 21-23 at the gallery, and will have until June 28 to do their plein-air painting(s) of one or more of Walnut Creek's many scenic sites, such as Heather Farm Park, Lime Ridge and Shell Ridge open space areas, downtown Broadway Plaza, the Bancroft Gardens, Borges Ranch and historic homes to name a few. Work can be finished in the studio. Only two-dimensional originals painted during the paint-out dates will be accepted.

The paintings will be featured at Civic Park on July 4 as part of the Independence Day celebrations. The painting voted 'best in show' by popular vote will receive a handsome cash award. The paintings will then be displayed at the Valley Art Gallery from July 8-26.

Interested artists can get more information, a full prospectus and register online at ww.onlinejuriedshows.com, under the Valley Art Gallery listing for Walnut Creek Paint Out Prospectus.

20th Bancroft Garden sculpture event begins June 13

For one month every year, Walnut Creek's Ruth Bancroft Garden transforms into an outdoor art gallery, its succulent plants a setting for public-scale works and pieces suitable for the home garden.

At the 20th Annual Sculpture in the Ruth Bancroft Garden event, follow the meandering pathways to discover sculptures by local and regional artists.

Preview Party: Friday, June 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. — Celebrate the unveiling of the exhibition and mingle with the artists at a preview party Friday, June 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the garden. Live music by the Wakefield Jazz Quintet will be features. Advance ticket purchase required, at $70/person, or $65 for garden members.

For a list of featured artists, visit www.ruthbancroftgarden.org

Remember Valley Art Gallery's 'Memory Gardens'

The Valley Art Gallery's new show, "Memory Gardens," runs through July 3, and features the paintings of Bea Guttman, whose colorful, lyrical abstract paintings evoke memories of the gardens and landscapes that inspired them.

Guttman's paintings are rooted in both geometric and organic forms, and the natural world -- fields and gardens -- often provides the inspiration for her highly introspective work. The paintings are referential, not realistic, and the process transforms literal representations into nonobjective evocations.

The gallery is at 1661 Botelho Drive, Suite 110 in downtown Walnut Creek just off California Boulevard.

In addition to the "Memory Gardens" exhibit on the gallery main walls, the gallery has 30 rolling walls, which display more than 300 additional works of art. For more information, go to www.valleyartgallery.org, or call the gallery at 925-935-4311.

Lafayette

'Funny Face' next up in 'Dance on Film' series

Diablo Ballet, in conjunction with the Lafayette Library & Learning Center, Lamorinda Weekly and the Lafayette Community Foundation, continues the popular "Dance on Film" summer series on Thursday, July 10 at 6:30 p.m. with the classic movie musical "Funny Face."

The film will be screened in the library's Community Hall, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette. Prior to the screening, Diablo Ballet Artistic Director Lauren Jonas and Diablo Ballet dancer Edward Stegge will present fun facts about the film.

A "Pygmalion" story set in the world of high fashion, "Funny Face" (1957) stars Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn.

The "Dance on Film" series celebrates some of the finest examples of dance captured in popular movies. The series debuted in 2012 to sold-out screenings and enthusiastic audiences.

Admission is $5 for all ages; proceeds benefit the Lafayette Library Foundation. The screening take place in the Lafayette Library's Community Hall, located at 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette. For more information, visit www.Diabloballet.org or call the Lafayette Library at 925-283-6513.

See 'Virtuosity Goes Viral' on 'Second Friday'

The Lafayette Art Gallery's second "Second Fridays" event, a monthly reception to which the public is cordially invited, is June 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Meet the artists, have a glass of good wine, enjoy good conversation with other art aficionados like yourself and look at the art.

The talent of the gallery's member artists is on display in "Virtuosity Goes Viral," the gallery's May/June show.

Gallery artists have filled walls, display cases and pedestals with more than 150 paintings, jewelry pieces, glassworks, ceramic pieces, photographs and more.

The work of Pat Prosek (printmaker), Debby Koonce (painter) and Polly Bradbury (glass artist) will be the featured artists.

The Lafayette Art Gallery is at The Forge, 3420 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. For more information, call 925-284-2788 or go to www.lafayetteartgallery.com

MORAGA

New gallery show is 'Luminous'

The floral photographs of Lucy Beck and fruit and vegetable bowls and jewelry by Margaret Dorfman are featured in the new Moraga Art Gallery show "Luminous — Nature Revealed and Reimagined."

The show will run through Aug. 9. An opening reception featuring Beck, Dorfman and other gallery artists taking part in the show will be Saturday, June 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the gallery. The reception is free and the public is invited.

The gallery is located at 522 Center Street, Rheem Shopping Center, and is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the gallery's website: www.moragaartgallery.com, call 925-376-5407 or email moragaartgallery@gmail.com.