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Art Walk Celebration Enlivens Downtown
Some artists set up their easels and painted away as fascinated fans crowded closer; others simply put their work on display. Artists offered jewelry, hand tooled leather belts, jewelry, hand-felted hats, mosaics, and decorated items like gourds. One was displaying and playing original music on CDs; another saw hairstyles as art and was doing complimentary cuts.

Friday evening's Art Walk was the first of several social events designed to draw people into Riverbank's downtown and give them a glimpse of the possibilities of the original town before the streets are torn up for redevelopment. It seemed to work. There was a good crowd, strolling and relaxed and nibbling on refreshments provided by the adjacent stores.

Initiated by Buethe Communications, the firm that is doing public relations work for redevelopment, the event was sponsored by the City of Riverbank, Riverbank Business Association, Riverbank Chamber of Commerce, Valley Art Association and Rio Arts.

A popular sideshow organized by Rio Arts was the Chalk Walk. For this, aspiring artists got down on their knees to chalk the sidewalk and create drawings with a theme celebrating Riverbank's 85th birthday. Mayor Chris Crifasi even cut a cake and distributed slices of the gooey confection to all attending.

Thomas Martinez of Modesto won the top prize in the Chalk Walk with a design centering on the city's horn of plenty and railway train emblem and adding birthday balloons, presents and candles. The top prize was $100 worth of pizza donated by the adjacent Pizza Plus.