Walnut Creek, Lafayette

Two local groups each get $20,000 grant

The City of Walnut Creek and the Lafayette-based Poston Community Alliance will each receive $20,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to be used toward specific projects.

Walnut Creek's grant is in the name of the Bedford Gallery's upcoming project "Blowup: A Short Survey of Inflatable Art," an exhibition and related programming. The exhibition, featuring artists from across the country, will explore the medium of inflatable art and will include imagery that is figurative, conceptual, and abstract.

The Poston Community Alliance grant is to support production and other related costs for a documentary on the challenges and achievements of four generations of Japanese Americans. "For the Sake of the Children" will explore the legacy of the Japanese American internment, its impact on current generations who are descendants of internees and their search for identity as Americans. Once completed, the film will be screened at film festivals and community centers, and be offered to PBS. An interactive website also will be developed to be used as an online resource.

Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts will make 132 grants to California-based califobniahas (NEA) announced that one hundred and thirty-two grants to arts organizations and agencies, totaling almost $4.85 million.

Walnut Creek

'The Beat Goes On' with the Blackhawk Chorus

The 130 voices of the men and women of the Blackhawk Chorus will be presenting two performances of their Spring Show, "The Beat Goes On", a show that features hits that include "Sweet Caroline," "The Look of Love," "Feelin' Groovy" and other 60's-era songs.

Under the direction of Diane Gilfether, the Blackhawk Chorus is celebrating its 23rd year. It has performed at the Lincoln Center in New York City, the Vatican in Rome, and various European countries.

The first performance is Sunday, May 8 at 4 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Church, 2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. On May 21 the chorus will perform at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets for both performances are available through the Blackhawk Chorus website (www.blackhawkchorus.org) and, for the Lesher Show, through the Lesher Box Office; call 925-943-7569.

The two hours of great music will include numbers by Special Blend and Blackhawk Jazz, vocal groups made up of some of the great voices within the nationally recognized Blackhawk Chorus.

Register for "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.

Registration to take part is limited to 35 artists, who must register by April 30. If accepted, will have their canvases time-stamped June 21-23 at the Valley Art Gallery. They 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.