Art and Wine in Concord and Contra Costa County

Creative Concord Mural_David Cho


Art and wine connect me to the places I travel to; each establishes harmony and balance in its surroundings. Local art, especially murals, defines a city or town. Like art, local wine speaks of a place, especially in terms of terroir. Both inspire our senses and have a social impact whether we share with friends, family, or, in the case of art, make a social statement. Let us dig deeper into the budding art scene Visit Concord, and the Concord Art Association inspires as it takes form in the town of Concord in Contra Costa County. On the wine side, the Contra Costa Wine Trail includes the lesser-known Lamorinda AVA.

Art In Concord

Two projects currently shroud Concord with their artistic and cultural presence. One is the Concord Utility Box giving the area local character by taking an ugly fixture of the urban landscape and transforming it back to life by local artists. You might see an image of a dog or clock adorn the utility box. Some speak to Concord’s history, while others are whimsical.

The other project, Creative Concord, promotes Concord’s newest public art experience. Last June, nine muralists adorned city walls with their artistic prowess that ranged in style and themes. Most of the muralists, all professional artists, come from the Bay area, including two Concord Natives. These contemporary works of art decorate various walls near the Todos Santos Plaza. Each artist’s concept is different, but together these brightly colorful artistic renderings invigorate and transform the city.

Todos Santos Plaza is ideal for these murals because this downtown plaza is central to everything in Concord. The project brings the city’s historical past together with the modern day by highlighting each artwork.

Contra Costa County Todos Santos Plaza Concord CA © Cori Solomon
Todos Santos Plaza Concord CA

The Artwork

I previewed five murals on my visit to Concord and watched many artists create their murals. I was amazed at the grandeur and those that evoked mysticism. Many artists are adept at using spray to create their murals, and others are painted by hand.

Felicia Gabaldon, whose mural can be seen along Highway 680 and behind the Veranda shopping mall, shows how the American southwest Native American culture influences her art.

David Hyde’s imagery feels to be in motion. The movement creates a dramatic statement with a limited palette of hues ranging from brown, orange, red, and yellows.

Fernanda Martínez’s colorful blocks of color are very abstract. As Fernanda was creating her artwork for the Concord Project, a nearby restaurant patron did not heed the parking curbs and drove their car into the building wall and a portion of Fernanda’s artwork. I met the artist as she was repairing the damaged mural. I think the blocks of color in her art made it easier to repair.

Doran Dada’s work celebrates African history. Urban Egyptian-styled hieroglyphics are the focal point of his art. The artwork features the Anubis, the protector of graves, the embalmer. In this case, the Anubis is a dog-headed mummy protecting both sides of the mural.

Jesse Hernandez, AKA Urban Aztec, an artist from Concord, mixes graffiti and ancient culture into his style. Think the Aztecs meets graffiti-esque.

Contra Costa Wine

The Contra Costa Wine Trail weaves around Concord and includes one wine bar in Concord. Contra Costa County consists of the communities of Martinez, Brentwood, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, and Orinda. The wineries within Contra Costa County are part of the San Francisco Bay AVA. Within this AVA is a sub-appellation called Lamorinda. The name Lamorinda represents the three cities that are part of this AVA, Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda. Eighty growers and seven bonded wineries, now belonging to the Lamorinda Wine Growers Association, came together to establish the AVA in 2016. Most are micro-wineries, small boutique wineries in residential areas with hillside vineyards.

Contra Costa County Wine Trail Vineyard © Cori Solomon
Contra Costa Wine Trail Vineyard

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Wander With Wonder.

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