The Father of Art Nouveau

Mucha,-Gismonda,-1895,-lithographAlphonse Mucha is one of those artists who for a long time flew under the radar,” says Lisa McDermott, Director of the Carnegie Arts Center. While people might not recognize the name, many will recognize what McDermoot describes as “elegant, beautiful, swirling compositions.” The Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock has the honor of premiering the national tour of an exhibit of over 70 of Mucha’s original works.

Mucha was a very versatile artist. In addition to his illustrative and graphic design work, for which he is best known, during his lifetime he engaged in portrait painting, architecture, interior design, mural painting, jewelry design, packaging design, and photography. McDermott explains that Mucha achieved his initial success as a commercial artist, working as an illustrator and graphic designer. His posters, advertisements and packaging designs spread over Paris virtually overnight. He was very well known in his lifetime and admirers of his work included the Parisian actress Sarah Bernhardt. By commissioning posters for her American tour, Bernhardt helped to popularize Mucha in the United States. Perhaps the most recognizable poster for that tour will be part of the exhibit.  

This exhibit is one that must be experienced in person, with some posters standing over seven feet tall. The exhibit features original lithographs which were produced during the artist’s lifetime and focuses on the period from 1890 to 1910, which marked the height of his career in Paris. In addition, there are a selection of book covers, sketches, proofs and paintings.


Mucha is credited as being the creator of the Art Nouveau style. Nicholas Lavar, Intern at the Carnegie Arts Center, says, “Because Mucha had a very distinct illustrative style that had a big impact later.” McDermott considers Mucha’s work “part of a contemporary vocabulary.” Art Nouveau forms its own distinctive branch on the contemporary art timeline. McDermott explains that what followed was Art Deco, which featured hard edges and was a sharp contrast to the organic forms emphasized in the Nouveau style. This was followed by Cubism, which ushered in abstraction, which was the pinnacle of the Modern movement. The aesthetic of elegant curves, organic shapes and ethereal forms fell out of fashion until it was embraced by the Psychedelic movement of the 1960s. While the color palette of the Psychedelic posters is dramatically different, the influence of Mucha’s organic motifs and fluid lines is undeniable.


Inspired by this remarkable exhibit the Carnegie Arts Center’s largest fundraising event of the year, the Annual Fall Gala, will transport you back to turn-of-the-century Paris. The evening of Saturday, September 12th will feature a Parisian dinner, cocktails, can-can dancers, live jazz music by Hot Club Faux Gitane, a live auction, a silent auction, and a preview of the exhibit.  

Alphonse Mucha: The Golden Age of Art Nouveau runs September 13, 2015 through January 10, 2016 at the Carnegie Arts Center, 250 N Broadway Ave, Turlock. For more information visit

Published in Contentment magazine |Issue 18 — September/October 2015

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Keep on Striding

Senior Walk logoThis marks the twenty-fourth year that the Modesto Rotary Club has hosted the Senior Stride Fun Walk. Janine McClanahan, Modesto Rotary Club Secretary and Former President, believes that the enduring popularity of this annual event is because “seniors themselves enjoy the walk” and they encourage their friends to sign up. She says that the Senior Stride is a chance to “mingle with friends and meet new friends.”

An additional reason she encourages local seniors to participate is, “They should know there is an opportunity for seniors to know services available.” At the event there will be a variety of vendors and organizations that provide senior services, including independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, insurance services, financial services, community hospice, and local hospitals.

McClanahan notes that “This last year we had over 300 [participants].” The registration fee is $1 in advance and $3 the day of the event. There are the options of a 1.5-mile course or a 3-mile course. Participants can stride, stroll or power-walk, going at their own pace as there are no time restrictions. The first 300 registered walkers will receive a complimentary t-shirt and tote bag. After the walk participants are welcome to enjoy a continental breakfast and there will also be prize drawings.

True to the Rotary’s commitment to service, any proceeds from the event are donated back into local senior services. According to McClanahan, due to the generosity of sponsors and supporters, for the past two years of the Senior Stride, the Modesto Rotary Club was able to donate back to the community.

Friday, September 11, 2015 at East La Loma Park, Modesto. Registrations begins at 7:45 a.m. and the walks starts at 9:00 a.m. For more information call (209) 578‑9999.

Published in Contentment magazine |Issue 17 – July/August 2015


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Casa de Modesto’s Golden Anniversary

Casa de Modesto is much more than a local retirement community, they are a home. May 16, 2015 marked 50 years since the non-for-profit first opened their doors. In the words of Executive Director Kelly Wiest, “Founded in 1965, the mission of our multi-level care community is to provide the highest quality, affordable, and innovative accommodations and services to our senior community.”

The secret to the achievement of celebrating their golden anniversary lies in the dedication of their Board of Directors and of their staff. Wiest believes that people are drawn “by the excellence of our staff.” He says that he has experienced first-hand the feeling of family among residents and those that care for them. Wiest explains that what makes Casa de Modesto unique is the variety of activities, which include weekly ice cream socials, trips to the mall, concerts at the Gallo Center and “onsite musical programs several times a week.”

cupcakes 50th anniversary

Photo by Cupcake KITSCHen |
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Published in Contentment magazine | Issue 17 – July/August 2015


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Inspiration from a Colorful Muse

Like the color itself the Chartreuse Muse is edgy and contemporary. Jennifer Price, the Gallery Manager, explains that a muse can be defined as something or someone that gives inspiration. The Chartreuse Muse Gallery and Art School is a place where one can be inspired.

Started in 2002 they moved in 2007 to their current location at 918 10th Street in Modesto. Co-owners Sandra Veneman and Ellen Roehne, both skilled artists, had a vision for a space where they would have room both to work and to show their work. It is their goal to let people of all ages experience the arts for themselves. Pablo Picasso is quoted as saying, “Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Today they offer classes for children and adults in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting and ceramics. This multifaceted approach is ideal for those who have had limited exposure to the visual arts. They cater to all ages and skill levels, with classes ranging from “Mommy and Me” to figure drawing class for adults that features an undraped model.

The classes focus on building up skills, while simultaneously introducing students to art theory and connecting the techniques they are learning to art history. One program they offer is Mobile Muse, which goes into public school to teach art classes. The number of Mobile Muse classes has tripled in the last year.

The Chartreuse Muse gallery features a rotating array of fine art by local artists. This commitment to focusing on local artists gives the public the rare opportunity to see pieces by artists working in their community. According to Price the gallery is “open to anything,” displaying all forms of art, including painting, sculpture, photography, metalwork and ceramics. The gallery seeks out local artists, taking into consideration the artist’s ethos or how their work would be a good fit with the theme of an upcoming show. Local artists are also welcome to submit a portfolio for review.

paint brushes

Photo by Rob Weiher |
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Price encourages those who don’t consider themselves to be an artist, but who want to explore their artistic side to “just start.” She says, “draw everyday, paint everyday,” even if you don’t think you are very good, try to ignore the self-doubt and just enjoy the process. The instructors tell their students that great artists became great through trail-and-error and what may seem like a mistake can turn into something remarkable.

The gallery is free and open to the public. With only a few exceptions everything in the gallery is for sale. In addition to the fine art pieces on display there are gift objects, including jewelry, cards and ceramics. These quirky and colorful items were all created by artists who have ties to the Central Valley. The Chartreuse Muse sets itself apart from other local galleries by featuring work that pushes the bounds of the traditional; a place meant to inspire.

For more information go to or call (209) 522‑0935.

Published in Contentment magazine | Issue 16 – May/June 2015

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Grilled Pizza

grilled pizza

Photo by jacki-dee |
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As the temperature warms up we are enticed to venture outdoors and fire up the grill. If you have never grilled a pizza this is the year to try! Take your pizza dough and pat out on an oiled sheet of parchment paper. Flip the dough onto the grill and peel off the parchment paper. Grill the dough until browned and then flip. A cookie sheet can be used to help flip the dough. Add the sauce and toppings of you choice to the cooked side of the dough. Grill until the bottom of the crust is done and the cheese is melted. Watch the pizza carefully to avoid burning the crust.

Published in San Joaquin Magazine

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Lodi’s Wine Social

Featuring two local wineries, Six Hands Winery and Sorelle Winery, Lodi’s Wine Social is located downtown. The two families behind these wineries created the tasting room to be a place for good conversation and great wine. Sip on one of their European style offerings at the circular bar, a comfy sofa or a communal table. Every aspect of the interior, from the brick walls to the refinished wood floors, adds to the atmosphere of comfort and relaxation. Even with the charm of the decor, it is the wine itself that is the star of the show. Regular events include weekly live music, monthly guest chefs, and Ladies Night Out.

candlelight wine glasses

Photo by Nan Palmero |
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Sip and chat at:
Lodi’s Wine Social
7 N School Street, Lodi
(209) 224‑5740

Published in San Joaquin Magazine

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Show Your Heart Some Love

It beats faster when the one you love enters the room. It beats a tattoo against your ribs as you push through the last mile of your run. Its steady rhythm is what keeps you alive. Your heart does so much for you, this Valentine’s Day consider what you might do to keep it healthy and strong.

Spice things up when cooking at home with fresh hot peppers or fresh herbs instead of using prepackaged mixes which often contain a high amount of salt. If you go out to eat, sharing an entree can help prevent you from over doing it as most restaurants serve overly generous portions. Consider having fish as the entree. According to the American Heart Association, for ideal health you should eat fish twice a week. Salmon is an excellent choice as it is low in saturated fat and high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. If you are not in the mood for fish, turkey is good substitute for beef as it is leaner.

chocolate cookies hearts

Photo by Bianca Moraes |
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Valentine’s Day would not be complete without chocolate. Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, which have been found to lower the risks of heart disease and heart failure. Unfortunately, chocolate is also high in fat and calories. To help keep the pounds off pace yourself, stick that box of chocolates in the refrigerator or the freezer and eat over the course of several weeks. An added benefit to your self control is you will still be enjoying the gift from your special someone days after the roses have wilted.

Opting for a dessert with berries, such as blueberries or strawberries, can have the added benefit of lowering the risk of heart attack in women. Nothing keeps you healthy and strong like exercise. Plan on taking a romantic walk after your meal.

The easiest way to make smart choices for heart healthy eating is to know exactly what ingredients go into your meal. Taking a date to a local cooking class can help you sharpen your skills and boost your confidence to take on the challenge of preparing a romantic, candlelit dinner this February 14th.

Published in Contentment magazine | Issue 14 – January/February 2015

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Mod Shop Once Again Creates a Vibrant Craft Market

craft fair

Photo by Alícia Roselló Gené |
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The Saturday after Thanksgiving downtown Modesto along J Street, between 10th Street and 13th Street, was bustling with shoppers carrying a kaleidoscope of handcrafted items made of metal, wood, clay, glass, fabric, wool, wine corks, leather, and more. This year Mod Shop  Indie Crafter Market, Modesto’s colorful spin on Small Business Saturday, boasted over 60 local crafters. Locations included Peer Recovery Art Project Incorporated, Concetta, Mira’s Bridal, Deva Cafe and Preservation Coffee and Tea. The Modesto Chamber of Commerce was the site of the raffle benefiting Haven Women’s Center of Stanislaus. Mistlin Gallery was the location of a community mural and Mini Mod Shop, which featured young entrepreneurs selling their unique handmade wares. The turnout to the event was impressive, with many of the shops filled to maximum capacity throughout the evening. Shoppers could even commemorate the event by stopping to snap a photo at the The Platinum Photo Booth.

For more information go to

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Art Walk Modesto

Third Thursdays Reveal Modesto’s Artistic Side

The distance from Modesto to the Louvre in Paris is over 5,500 miles. To the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is over 2,800 miles. Traveling to The Getty Center in Los Angeles would take five hours, one way, with no traffic. Living in the Central Valley one may feel that a private jet is required to experience art, yet every month there is an evening in which downtown Modesto reveals its hidden artistic gems.

Year round on the third Thursday of the month a number of art galleries and businesses are open from 5pm to 9pm to showcase local talent. All of the locations are within walking distance. Make an evening of it, sample the local cuisine, discuss one’s impressions of the diverse use of color and line. Strolling through downtown Modesto has the added benefit of taking in the architecture, from the Art Deco grandeur of The State Theater to the more recent addition to the landscape, built with the aim to celebrate the arts, the Gallo Center for the Arts. Further enhancing the experience, some of the stops in the Art Walk have live music and offer refreshments, making for a feast for the senses.

watercolor paints

Photo by z Q |
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The Chartreuse Muse: Gallery & Art School
918 10th Street

The beauty of the gallery space in the Chartreuse Muse is rivaled only by the works of art that it exhibits. The quality of the pieces will appeal to both the casual observer and the discerning eye, with many of the pieces being highly conceptual. If visiting the gallery leaves one feeling inspired, explore the schedule of classes offered in various media, ranging from drawing to ceramics, for both adults and children.

Crow Trading Co.
1208 J Street

Sharing the space with the Crow Trading Co.‘s unique home decor is artwork and photography from emerging artists. Browsing the original work is enhanced by the ambiance of the pieces of antique furniture and home accessories, which have a marked Asian influence.

Barkin’ Dog Grill
940 11th Street

Come for the art, stay for the live music, and the sweet potato fries. The vibrant notes of live jazz are echoed in the paintings on display. Since the beginning the Barkin’ Dog Grill has been a strong supporter of the arts in their many forms.

Gallery 909
909 10th Street

Up-and-coming talent from the California State University, Stanislaus, Department of Art, is showcased at Gallery 909. The Department of Art prides itself in continuing the tradition of fine art. The student run gallery provides studio art students a space to exhibit their creations. The pieces on display give an intriguing look at the talent, as well as the potential, of these artists.

Mistlin Gallery — Central California Art Association
1015 J Street

The spacious interior allows for exhibits on a larger scale, providing the opportunity for a theme to be carried through quite a number of pieces. Live music and refreshments entice one to linger. Off the gallery area is a classroom, allowing the Mistlin Gallery to further its goal of enriching the arts education and cultural opportunities of the Central Valley.

Peer Recovery Art Project Gallery
1222 J Street

The Peer Recovery Art Project Gallery boasts an exceptionally diverse selection of styles and mediums produced by local artists. Charcoal drawings share space with oil painting and ceramic bowls, giving one an appreciation for a wide variety of mediums by viewing them side-by-side.

For more information, including a map of the locations, visit

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A Night Out in the Neighborhood

sliced watermelon
Photo by Harsha K R |
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015 is a day for block parties and barbecues. Crime Prevention Specialist Michelle Backeroff of the Turlock Police Department explains, “National Night Out is a national program that is designed to raise crime prevention awareness, and also to support neighborhood watch programs and strengthen neighborhood spirit.” Patrol officers, the Chief of Police, city employees, individuals from the Fire Department and McGruff the Crime Dog will visit the various events held throughout the community. Backeroff says, “We encourage neighborhoods to get out of their homes and interact with each other. A lot of the neighborhoods will be putting on ice cream socials, block parties, BBQs.”

The goal of this yearly event is to build partnerships in the community and put faces with the names of the individuals who work to keep our communities safe. Backeroff says, “Personally, when I’m out there as an officer, it opens up communication, and we have an opportunity to maintain contact, so we can give citizens information about crime prevention programs and other programs that the department runs.”

For more information on how to host a National Night Out event in your neighborhood please contact your local police department.

Published in Contentment magazine | Issue 17 – July/August 2015

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