Fresno is a destination for the arts. The City is a community that celebrates its art and culture, whether it is honoring the customs of its diverse population, relishing the sophistication of stage performances or enjoying the rich customs of its residents through festivals. Fresno understands the importance of recognizing the many cultures, faiths and interests that make it such a vibrant community. The city is home to many cultural celebrations throughout the year.
Some of the events the City celebrates diversity with, include the annual Mexican Independence Day celebration, that has residents tapping their feet to lively mariachi music and enjoying plenty of authentic Mexican cuisine. The community also participates in the Hmong New Year Celebration, one of the largest cultural events for the Hmong in the United States. Over 200,000 people have attended over a 10-year span. Tradition abounds at the annual Grape Blessing and Festival, a significant celebration in the Armenian community. The Fresno Veterans Parade, César Chávez celebration and Martin Luther King celebration pay tribute to significant national heroes. Each October sees the arrival of tens of thousands who visit Fresno to enjoy the Big Fresno Fair – complete with entertainment, horse racing, plenty of dining selections and several agriculture and cultural exhibits. Unique to the valley is the Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead a celebration immersed in tradition and the concept of playing with the Grim Reaper. The Obon Festival at the Shin Zen Gardens of Woodward Park is another tradition-rich festival that celebrates Japanese ancestors.
The Fresno Convention Center is the site of many popular events throughout the year, including lively entertainment such as Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, and many other touring performers. The Save Mart Center, located on the campus of Fresno State, welcomes national celebrities in a large indoor arena with an 18,000-seat capacity. California State University’s theater also hosts numerous student-produced and multicultural-cast performances The University also serves as host to world-renowned performers through the Keyboard Concert Series. Fresno City College’s theater is a platform for students’ work in dance, music and drama. The historic Warnors Theater is host to an array of live performances and vintage movies. The Tower District plays host to the nationally celebrated Rough Festival of performing arts spanning late March and early April.
Fresno also showcases its diverse cultural history and ever-evolving artistic talent through local museums and cultural arts centers such as the Fresno Art Museum, the African American Historical and Cultural Museum, Arte Américas, the Legion of Valor Museum, housed in the Fresno Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, the Armenian Heritage Museum, the Meux Home and the Selma Arts Center and Reedley Opera House.
The Fresno Arts Council (FAC), the local partner to the California Arts Council, is a major driving force behind Fresno’s cultural arts scene. Established in 1979, this private, nonprofit organization serves as the arts agency to both the City and County of Fresno, promoting and supporting the arts community. The FAC, as art consultant for the City and County of Fresno, coordinates and provides oversight for the one percent designated for the public art program. Consistent with its mission, “to enrich people’s lives through the arts” the FAC sponsors events and programs that enhance arts in education, illuminate local talent and strengthen arts organizations and individual artist that contribute to the economic vitality of the county. ArtHop FAC’s signature event attracts hundreds of people to local art venues on the First and Third Thursday of the Month. Arts Alive in Agriculture scheduled for April, showcases the counties thriving agricultural bounty through the arts and is fast becoming a, don’t-miss event hosted by FAC.