Merced County Times Newspaper
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For the curious: It’s ‘Tuesdays at the Mainzer’

Local artists Richard Gomez and Eddie Rodriguez during their artists talk ‘Spray Painting in the Valley’ at Mainzer.
Local artists Richard Gomez and Eddie Rodriguez during their artists talk ‘Spray Painting in the Valley’ at Mainzer.

Two new Downtown Merced collaborations are part of a new wave of efforts for improved community interaction and cultural development.

“It’s change,” Kim Garner says. “It’s impactful change. Who doesn’t want that?”

Garner is the director of Community Impact for the Mainzer Theater and the El Capitan Hotel. She’s been working on and promoting “Tuesdays at the Mainzer” and “Mainzer Loves Merced” at the historic downtown venue.

The goal is to “Help make the place we live, the place we love.”

“The narrative in Merced has got to change,” Garner says. “We have to get it to change.”

Originally from the Clovis-Fresno area, Garner is a fourth-generation Central Valley resident. She notes that unfortunately in this region there’s been an enduring social mindset spreading the misconception that there is nothing exciting to do around here.

“We’ve been talking so negatively about ourselves for so long,” she says. “We hurt ourselves by doing that. It’s time to really educate ourselves on the place we live.”

“Tuesdays at the Mainzer” is a quarterly speaker series that highlights food, culture and art of the San Joaquin Valley. All speaker talks are held inside the Mainzer cinema section, and are free of charge to the public. Seating is on a limited basis, and it’s “first-come, first-serve.”

This week’s talk featured local artists Eddie Rodriguez and Richard Gomez with the theme “Spray Painting the Valley.” The artists discussed spray painting as an art medium and how it ties back to the their culture, environment, and artistic tradition.

Up next, on April 10, at 6PM, the topic turns to “Honey Bees: Our Greatest Friend Among the Insects” with Darren Hess, owner of Kingsburg Honey and Bee Rescuer. He will discuss his connection to honeybees and the attraction that drew him to begin protecting them and documenting his journeys on social media.

“He has been able to put on display the lives of these amazing creatures and the special connection we have with bees here in the valley,” Garner says. “I want to make sure we’re keeping with our roots.”

On May 3, Ben Moore, the founder of the Ugly Company, will discuss the staggering problem of agricultural food waste and why, as a fourth generation valley farmer, he started his upcycled food company to help stem the tide of waste and to educate people that a bump or bruise can taste just a delicious as perfection.

Through ‘Tuesdays at the Mainzer’ residents are able to engage in an intimate setting with people in the Central Valley community doing amazing things.

“I want to do Merced, but also introduce the entire San Joaquin Valley because we are all part of that ecosystem. I want to do South Valley and even out to Modesto.”

The program “Mainzer Loves Merced,” is a fundraiser the venue hosts every month featuring a different local organization or nonprofit. For the month of April, Mainzer is highlighting the Merced Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Canter.

Toward the end of each month, the Mainzer also hosts “Dine for a Cause,” where ten percent of all meals go to the organization.

For more information on “Tuesdays at the Mainzer,” or “Mainzer Loves Merced,” email Kim Garner at: [email protected]

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