Pleasanton Weekly

News - October 29, 2010

MerchantArts Walks begin on Main

Downtown becomes an art gallery as shops offer exhibits

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

MerchantArts Walk kicked off its monthly events in downtown Pleasanton last week with 10 businesses displaying exhibits within their stores and the organizers in front of the Main Street arch handing out maps and offering refreshments.

"The event was a big success," said John Trefethen, head of MerchantArts Walk. "I was thoroughly impressed by how well the merchants integrated the artwork into their stores' displays."

The art work is for sale and the commission is split with the merchants, he explained. People can begin the Walk anywhere downtown or start at his booth to find out which merchants are participating. They are also identified by a MerchantArts Walk sticker.

The events are scheduled for every third Thursday of the month. Attendance at the first Walk was a little low, noted Trefethen, probably due to the Giants playoff game that night.

"Some reports from merchants were they served over 40 different people hors d'oeuvres, and the artists were all there for their receptions," Trefethen said. "Some merchants even reported making sales. They said, 'Being there that night was well worth it.'"

Artists who want to participate can learn more at MerchantArts.com.

"I want to make this more and more available to artists, to let them know they have a shot at having their work presented," Trefethen said.

The group decided this format would be better than setting up booths in the street, he said, adding that he was involved when similar successful events were started in Arcada and Eureka.

"It's my brainchild," Trefethen said. "I've got the Pleasanton Downtown Association supporting it and various arts groups. A lot has been happening behind the scenes."

Trefethen has high hopes the MerchantArts Walks will thrive through the winter.

"If we can show it's about community and people coming together, and free entertainment, it can be successful," he said.

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