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The Renegade Rip

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Bakersfield’s Bellmoore gallery opens with ‘Pruning Season’ exhibit

On March 13, The Bellmoore opened its doors. The Bellmoore is an art gallery downtown located at 2001 Chester Ave. Its opening exhibit is, “Pruning Season,” which features seven different artists from Kern County. These artists include Greg Jones, Marisela Oropeza and Hope.

Formerly known as The Basement, The Bellmoore was opened and is run by Deon Bell and John Moore. According to Moore, he met Bell “on the street,” they started to talk and “over a handshake,” Moore opened a gallery next to The Basement.

After The Basement was closed, Moore and Bell decided to open a gallery together.

Bell describes the preparation for the opening of the Bellmoore as “somewhat difficult. The space wasn’t put together, a lot of fixing up, taking out trash, recycling iron, dusting, a lot of dusting.” Moore had this to say about the preparation, “If I had to sum it up in one word: it’s patience. ”

Bell’s goals for the Bellmoore are to “open up to local artists, musicians to give them a place to show what they do. We want to get all types of performing artists, plays, bands, fashion shows, all different kinds of art. We want to be very accessible to artists. It’s not easy for an artist who isn’t known to have an exhibit. It doesn’t matter how refined they are, if they aren’t known or have some kind of backing, it’s difficult for them to exhibit. So I wanted to open a place so artists like that can exhibit.” Moore wants the Bellmoore to be a place where people are “comfortable.” He wants the gallery to be a “positive place people can go to.”

The Bellmoore has a different set-up from many of the other galleries in Bakersfield. It has lower lighting with bright light shining only on the artwork. Bell describes the art at “Pruning Season” as “contemporary paintings, a few sculptures.”

He describes his gallery as a “great space, it’s really cool. It has a lot more character then the Basement.”

During the night, ambient and jazz music was played. Near the end of the night a free-form funk band, Mosaic Orgasm, played.

Throughout the gallery several chairs, sofas and benches were there to give visitors a chance to relax and mingle.

Greg Jones, an artist at “Pruning Season,” describes his art as “a whole series of painting about anticipation, that’s the theme I keep building on.”

It’s the first time Jones is exhibiting his work in public “in a long time.”

He said, “It’s nice to see them together, I get a perspective on where the whole series is going to go. Right now, I have 25 to 30 in the series. It’s nice to see a part of it. I’ve been hesitant to show them. It’s always the next painting is where the art is. You put the other ones aside till you get to the next one. But this is a nice space and I like to show them here.”

Hope, another artist at “Pruning Season,” describes her paintings as “ordinary things” such as “a sink” and “the sky.”

Bell has many plans for the Bellmoore.

He plans to hold a grand opening in April. He is also looking to expand.

He said, “I want to open a chain of galleries and studios like this. (A place) for artists to show their work and play their music.”

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