BETH CHANEY • BE CREATIVE IN BAKERSFIELD
If Beth wants something in Bakersfield, then she makes it happen. Read how this Bakersfield girl loves to create opportunities for herself and her community.
Beth Chaney • Local Artist + Teacher
I was born and raised in Bakersfield. I went to school here, I work here and I now have my own family here. I am a local artist, and I teach art at West High School.
One of my favorite things about Bakersfield is the sense of community. I also love how close we are to big cities, the beach and the mountains, and I’m really spoiled by all the fresh produce available thanks to living in an agricultural hub — I don’t think I could live anywhere else.
I’m inspired by the hope this city offers. In my lifetime, I’ve seen the community grow so much. It’s become a place where you can create the life you want to live. If you want to do something, you can make it happen. If you want to have a music festival with local food and art on the Kern River, you can do that.
A couple of years ago my husband’s band, Lonely Avenue, wanted to have a music festival at the Democrat Hot Springs because we all fell in love with that beautiful place after they played a private event there. We pooled our resources, and a small group made it happen. We brought in musical talent from LA. Big names came to play, and everyone loved it! There were local food vendors and local artists and even a non-profit that was sponsored and donated to. It’s amazing to watch a dream come to fruition.
The small-mindedness of life in a little big town has been challenging at times, but I think that’s changing. I have seen downtown grow to become the awesome community it is today. The younger generation is stepping up and making this a place to be proud of — a place that we want to be. I have seen art become more and more prevalent within the community, and it’s something this town has needed for a long time. There is so much room for opportunity and growth here. It’s a place where people support each other and are always willing to help out. I think people just need to step up and participate and get involved. There is so much happening here.
I often hear people say there’s nothing to do in Bakersfield, and I don’t think that’s true at all. You just have to go out and find things you want to do. You have to find your people and participate in what’s happening.
I love being part of the art community here. I participate in Via Arté every year. This event literally puts art on the street through chalk drawings at the marketplace. It allows people to interact with artists and the artistic process, and it starts a conversation about art. Every year, people ask me about how I create or how long I’ve been doing it. It’s a great way to bring awareness and attention to the art and talent in our town. I’m also made some work for the East Bakersfield Festival that is going to take place at Jefferson Park.
The museum is doing so many things for community involvement in the arts, and it’s so fun! Art After Dark and Second Saturday are such great opportunities for people to come and see and mingle and participate.
My hope for Bakersfield’s future is to see the music and art community thrive. It’s already grown since I was in high school, and I think having more artistic avenues and more creative community events is something I would love to see.