BRENTWOOD -- A strong public art presence, ongoing exhibits and monthly events provide evidence that the arts scene in downtown Brentwood and beyond continues to grow and flourish.

"It is growing all over town. Between the Brentwood Art Society and the Discover Art League, we are growing by leaps and bounds," said Brentwood Arts Commissioner Jack Gaughan.

As the owner of The Gallery on Second, Gaughan said that attendance at the gallery's monthly arts gatherings through the Brentwood Art Society has been recently growing. Open to the public on the second Wednesday of every month, the gatherings feature guest speakers providing information about the arts.

On the second Thursday of each month, the gallery, which is located on Second Street across from Brentwood City Hall, hosts an open mic night featuring original poetry and prose from local writers.

"This is a time to celebrate the literary arts," Gaughan said. "We get 60 or 70 people or as few as 50 attending."

Discover Art League President Josie O'Malley said that her organization of 80 to 90 members has been growing as the surrounding arts scene in Brentwood continues to grow. Over the past few weeks, she said that several artists have contacted her about showing their artwork locally.

"People are moving into the area from areas where they were active in the arts. They want to become active in Brentwood. They are looking for an outlet for their art and they want to find out about the gallery and art organizations," O'Malley said.

O'Malley said that she can relate to these Brentwood newcomers because she moved here from Ohio, where she worked as an art teacher. She said that the area's new artists come from all walks of life and represent all age groups.

"There is so much here for them. They look very sophisticated and there are very accomplished artists featured there," O'Malley said of The Gallery on Second's exhibits.

In terms of public art, Gaughan is working with the Brentwood Arts Commission to place free-standing silhouette pieces of people and animals in action around downtown. He added that those artistic images could include a child with a soccer ball or a couple holding hands and similar public art projects are located in Denver and El Paso.

According to Gaughan, the commission is also in the process of selecting an artist for a future free-standing sculpture on Balfour Road near Heritage High School. He added that they have narrowed it down to a few artists who will create mini versions of their proposed public art projects.

"There is no public art there," Gaughan said of that section of Brentwood.

In January, the Public Art Walls exhibition program debuted on the walls of the Brentwood Community Center featuring photography, fiber, watercolor, oil and drawings. The upcoming exhibit will appear next month, with each exhibit rotating after three months.

The program's goal is to spotlight visual art, local artists and art organizations like the Discover Art League and it is run through the city.

Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or pking@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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