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Downtown Martinez is an art colony

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The historic district has always been famous for antique shops, family owned restaurants, the marina, and the Contra Costa Superior Court, and now it's also a large art colony. There are over a dozen different art galleries that display original oil and acrylic paintings. They double as custom framing shops, antique shops, an art school and public paint studio, and personality restaurants and eateries.

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There are as many original paintings there as downtown San Francisco or Sausalito. They have everything: Oil paintings of famous athletes, high end contemporary pieces, one hundred year old portraits, colorful nudes, nonrepresentational abstract art, handmade art glass, antique prints of icons and cartoons during the 1930's to 1950's, antique handmade quilts, and original handmade jewelry.

The art school and public paint studio is called "Artu4ia." To see their website click on this link. It's located at 725 Ward Street and their phone number is (925) 323-6533. The owners are John and Carol Kleber, and John provides one-on-one and group painting lessons. He worked at Disney and Warner Brothers as an art director and production designer, and at large advertising agencies. Several of his paintings are on display. At one glance anyone can instantly tell that they're high end pieces by an experienced professional who studied art at an accredited university.

There is a painting restoration business which is rare. Cracked and torn paintings can be repaired at "Rick's Place Framing and Gallery" which is located at 649 Main Street and their phone number is (925) 957-1661. It's also a custom framing shop and art gallery. The gallery side of the business is famous for original classic and erotic nude paintings, photography, and sketches. To view their Facebook wall click on this link.

The Martinez Arts Association has an art gallery that's across the street from the courthouse. To view their website click on this link. The president is Cathy Riggs and she owns a custom framing shop called "I've Been Framed", which doubles as an art gallery and paint studio. It's located at 411 Ferry Street. To view her Facebook wall click on this link. Cathy has about forty years of framing experience.

There is a community art consultant in Martinez, too, which is also very rare. His name is B Jaxon and he organizes and promotes art exhibits. To view his website click on this link. He works at I've Been Framed with Cathy on Ferry Street.

There are spectacular original art glass pieces by Carol Rose at the Martinez Arts Association gallery across the street from the court house, and also at "Main Street Sweets" which she co-owns with her husband. This article includes a slideshow of a few of her pieces. Her work is original, fresh, and intriguing.

All of the antique shops sell original oil paintings, old black and white photographs, and iconic cartoons from a bygone era such as the Campbell Soup kids and Betty Boop.

"Bill and Mike's Antiques" is also a custom framing shop that specializes in the Arts & Crafts style (Mission/Craftsman) which was made famous by architects Gustav Stickley, Greene & Greene, and Frank Lloyd Wright. They have several framed original paintings in their front window. Their address is 623 Main Street and their phone number is (925) 229-3664.

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