From murals and art galleries, to the performing arts, and a well-established symphony, Tulare County is home to an ever- growing fine arts community that appeals to all walks of life and contributes to its unique culture.
Following the citrus freeze of 1990, Exeter’s downtown began to look more like a ghost town. Things seemed to get worse when one of the downtown’s most recognizable and historic buildings, the old Mixter Pharmacy, burned down in 1991. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Exeter decided to reinvest in itself and reinvent its downtown in 1996. Inspired by a small town in Canada that used murals to promote tourism after the lumber industry left town, Exeter decided to convert the burned out lot to a downtown Mixter Park (named after the historic building) and painted a mural paying homage to Exeter’s citrus industry. Today, Exeter’s downtown is thriving again thanks to the ongoing mural program. Exeter’s 31 murals create an outdoor art gallery that displays the pioneering businesses, Native American heritage, and scenes of local life of years gone by.
Learn more at: ExeterMurals.com
You can also see murals throughout Tulare County, as most of the communities boast beautiful murals featuring local and nationally known artists.
Courthouse Gallery of the Arts
Stepping into Exeter’s Courthouse Gallery of the Arts, visitors are welcomed warmly by docents and ushered into one of the most respected art galleries in the county. With exhibits changing every three months, hang space at the gallery has become coveted real estate. Artists throughout the San Joaquin Valley and the state have exhibited in the facility’s eight year history, representing a myriad of art forms, such as painting, sculpture, fiber arts, and photography.
The Courthouse Gallery is open
Saturday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m.–4 p.m.
This multicultural learning center provides a safe and fun environment filled with interactive scientific, cultural, and educational exhibits for children and the whole family. ImagineU also organizes and hosts a wide variety of children’s events, crafts, camps and group visits.
Enjoy a night of entertainment at Visalia’s Fox Theater. The theater’s downtown location is perfect if you’re looking for a night of dinner and entertainment. After enjoying a nice dinner at one of the numerous restaurants within walking distance, head over to the Fox Theater for some live entertainment and fun.
At over 60 years of existence, the Barn Theater is California’s longest running community theater. Each season includes a variety of shows providing live, on-stage theater entertainment.
Encore Theatre Company is celebrating 37 years of community theater in Tulare, California. With performances of comedies, melodramas, and satires, Encore Theatre appeals to the young and old alike.
Ice House Theatre
The Visalia Community Players have been performing for over 60 years, with the past 41 years at the Ice House Theatre. Each season, the all-volunteer Players present a mix of plays and musicals for the local community.
Tulare County Symphony
The Tulare County Symphony was founded in 1959 in the backyard of Tulare resident, Pat Hillman. Their first music director, Robert Cole, was then teaching at Tulare Union High School. For the past 57 seasons, it has been the mission of the Tulare County Symphony to provide a symphony orchestra to Tulare County to promote and foster appreciation of symphonic music, to further adult participation in creative music activity, and to promote the education and development of young musicians. The current orchestra is composed of seventy or so local musicians. Under current Music Director, Dr. Bruce Kiesling, who is also Conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and a composer of music for films, the symphony performs at the beautifully restored Visalia Fox Theater.
The destination for all things “art” in Tulare County. The Arts Consortium brings together artists, organizations, and art enthusiasts to advocate, promote, and provide opportunities to create and celebrate the arts for all Tulare County residents and visitors.
The Porterville Art Walk
Working as its own art collective group, the Porterville Art Walk is an arts and culture-focused event, fueled by passion and interest in the arts in southeastern Tulare County. Art lovers from all walks of life flock to downtown Porterville to meet the artists, enjoy an art reception, and listen to music. With 15-20 (or more) participating venues, guests enjoy artwork, listen to musicians and poets, and relish the receptions and beverages. Art Walk opens an artistic avenue for professional, novice, local, and up-and-coming artsists to exhibit their art or craft to the community, expanding the stage for artistic liberty. Porterville Art Walk takes place the first Friday of every month, September through June. This free event runs from 5-8 p.m.
Music on Main Street
Porterville’s quaint downtown Centennial Park is the venue for weekly Friday evening concerts, offering a wide array of musical performances. The series opens the first Friday in April and concludes the last Friday in June. Blues, jazz, country western, mariachi, Native American, rock &
roll, big band, and soft rock music groups “wow” the crowds weekly. Attendees are welcome to use the provided chairs and benches or bring their own lawn chairs, blankets, and refreshments for personal comfort. There is no cost to attend. Centennial Park is located at the corner of Main Street and Cleveland Avenue directly across from City Hall.
Arts Visalia has established itself as the premiere visual arts venue in the community. Their diverse exhibition schedule features the work of regional, national, and internationally recognized artists, with an emphasis on local talent. Their goal is to provide opportunities for artists at different levels of experience to show and see their work. Arts Visalia also offers children and adult art classes; truly a place where community members of all ages come together to express their creativity and be inspired by others.