Fresno’s arts and culture scene is something worth writing home about

Posted by Gretchen Moore

The list of things that I love about Fresno is long and varied: walkable downtown, access to incredible local food, diverse communities, vibrant local music scene and unique events to name a few.

Lately, I’ve been marveling at the incredible arts and culture that we have downtown. There are some really amazing organizations putting on outstanding performances and I count myself lucky to live in a city that has so many opportunities to experience world-class culture. If you’re not taking advantage of these groups, you’re missing out!

Here are a few of my favorites:

For those of us who love the unique and unexpected, it’s time once again for The Rogue Festival  going on now:

“Think about it as this swirling circus of originality and creativity that magically appears once a year to tickle, inspire and fire the imagination … unabashedly celebrating and stretching the wonders of the possible.”

The Rogue celebrates the independent performer and artist by providing the opportunity to showcase works in a friendly, affordable, and creative setting. Rogue takes place until March 8 throughout Tower and downtown. Check out the website for the event schedule and be sure to go to a few different performances so you experience the many facets of this event.

Do you think it would be cool to go to the orchestra but you’re afraid you’ll be bored because you don’t know the music? Fear no more! Anyone who loves cartoons must attend Fresno Philharmonic’s Ride of the Valkyries on March 9. The surging strings and triumphant horn calls that open Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries have become standard Hollywood accompaniment to movie and cartoon action scenes (listen here). For newbies, this is a great introduction to the Philharmonic. For Fresno Phil regulars, you will be enjoying some of the most beautiful and powerful orchestral music ever written.

This week, Broadway in Fresno brought us Sally Struthers Hello Dolly!, Million Dollar Quartet  debuted in November and we will see Wicked in April followed by Memphis in May. What an incredible lineup! Tickets for Wicked and Memphis are still available but going fast!


If musicals aren’t your thing, you can awaken your intellectual side with free monthly Cafe Scientifique at Peeve’s Public House. Have a pint and listen to experts on topics ranging from technology to natural history to medicine to space exploration.  The next event is April 7, featuring marine scientist Dr. Sandra Passchier, on “Reconstructing the Footprint of an Ice Sheet on the Antarctic Continental Margin.”


Or, you can attend a San Joaquin Valley Town Hall lecture where we get to hear from nationally and internationally renowned, thought-provoking speakers who inform, educate and entertain the audience.

Upcoming Town Hall lecturers include neurologist and stroke victim Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor on “My Stroke of Insight” on March 12 and Carl Bernstein’s (yes, THAT Carl Bernstein), “The System Can Work” in a discussion on America’s governmental institutions on April 16. Lectures are held at Saroyan Theatre and cost just $25 for lecture and lunch.


2014 started off incredibly with the most amazing performance of Les Miserables ever presented! Fresno Grand Opera set the bar high with this performance and it looks like Fresno’s cultural institutions have answered the call.

In case you missed it, here are some of the incredible stats from Fresno Grand Opera’s performance:

  • The largest locally-produced theatrical event ever presented in the Central Valley
  • Featured scenery created for the Queen of England
  • Original Broadway-created video projections designed specifically for Fresno
  • A world-class cast that included some of Broadway’s biggest stars performing alongside some of Fresno & the Central Valley’s finest artists
  • 3 performance days attracted an audience of nearly 10,000 and generated nearly $1 million for the local economy

These are just a few of the events I’m excited about. Be sure to check out our online event calendar for more upcoming events. And, please make sure that you support local businesses when you’re downtown enjoying these events.


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