2020/2021 Exhibitions

General exhibition support from The McClatchy Fresno Arts Endowment of The James B. McClatchy Foundation, The Eaton and Gibson Family Fund of Central Valley Community Foundation, A Friend of the Museum, Christy V. Hicks, Elaine Lynn, Anita M. Shanahan, and David & MaryAnne Esajian. 


Extended to January 9, 2022

Another Glorious Sierra Day is an exhibition of narrative art about geography and science in the Sierra Nevada. Artist Bonnie Peterson mixes embroidery with a variety of source materials such as scientific data and early explorers’ journals. Wilderness experiences inform her work. Peterson grew up in the Midwest but has been backpacking in the Sierras since the 1980s. In 1997, she participated in an artist residency at Yosemite. Her selection of textiles and maps integrate the geographic features of the Sierras with 19th and 20th-century exploration and contemporary wildness encounters. Using rich fabrics and intricate stitching, her work provides a unique opportunity to create interest in further research on the Sierra environment and geography.

Curator: FAM Curator, Sarah Vargas

HereSheStands-final.jpgExtended to January 9, 2022

The year 2020 is a significant year in women’s history as it marks the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States. As an homage to the audacity and perseverance of early American women, the Fresno Art Museum presents the exhibition Here She Stands: Women Artists from the Permanent Collection. This exhibition highlights a selection of the phenomenal and groundbreaking work by women artists that the Fresno Art Museum holds in its permanent collection. Throughout history, women artists have been overlooked and excluded from the narrative. In 1971, art historian Linda Nochlin wrote an article for ARTnews titled “Why Have There Been No Great Woman Artists?” Her argument wasn’t that there were no talented women artists but that systematic social, cultural, and political barriers prevented many women from participating and succeeding in the art world. In the forty-nine years since that article was published, much discourse has been produced on the subject, yet the art world still has much further to go. The Fresno Art Museum has long been dedicated to the promotion of women artists. The first work by a woman artist in the Museum’s permanent collection was Jean Ray Laury’s Tiger Garden (1962), acquired in 1963 just after the Museum first began building its permanent collection. Judy Chicago brought attention to women artists when she launched the first feminist art program at California State University, Fresno in 1970. The Fresno Art Museum was the first museum in the United States to devote a full year of exhibitions (1986-87) exclusively to women artists, and this launched the annual Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist award and exhibition program that continues to this day. The works selected for this exhibition reflect the diversity, depth, and creative vision of the many women who are represented in the Museum’s permanent collection. Some of these artists are world-renowned; some are best known in the local community. The works were selected with an emphasis on pieces that have not been frequently exhibited. The selected artists include such names as Helen Lundeberg, Claire Falkenstein, Isobel Sanford, Amy Kasai, Jean Ray Laury, June Wayne, and Marguerite Stix.

Curated by FAM Curator Sarah Vargas


July 31, 2021 to June 26, 2022

The children’s book Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You teaches empathy through the illustrations of Rafael López. They help to tell the story by United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor who bases the narrative on her own personal history of being different as a child, having been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age seven.

Rafael López’ vibrant illustrations celebrate the different abilities that each of us uniquely possesses and how people working together can accomplish amazing things through each one’s unique contributions. The child-friendly illustrations enhance the special qualities of people’s disabilities that are often-ignored topics. Sotomayor’s personal story and López’ delightful illustrations remind and encourage each of us to not make judgments about someone’s behavior or the way they look until we understand the whole story. They encourage us to “Just ask!

The artwork displayed was created by combining traditional pencil drawing, watercolor, and acrylic with digital manipulation. While the Fresno Art Museum does not typically display giclée reproductions (with the exception of photographs), we are finding that many of today’s illustrators use a combination of traditional painting and drawing techniques and a computer to create their finished images. In order to share these works with the public, we had the artist supply us with digital prints to recreate the original image in the book. Along with those digital prints, the exhibition includes some of López’ original hand-painted and drawn elements that contributed to the final artworks.

Rafael López is an internationally recognized illustrator and artist whose work brings diverse characters to children’s books. He is driven to produce and promote books that reflect and honor the lives of all young people. Born and raised in Mexico City to architect parents, he was immersed in the rich visual heritage, music, and surrealism of his native culture which reflects in his illustrations. He is a two-time #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator for Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You written by Sonia Sotomayor and The Day You Begin written by Jacqueline Woodson. He has two Pura Belpre Medals as the award-winning illustrator of Drum Dream Girl and Book Fiesta!; and the three-time Pura Belpre Honor award-winning illustrator of Tito Puente: Mambo King; The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred; and My Name Is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz.

In addition, López is a founder of the Urban Art Trail movement in San Diego’s East Village. His murals can be found in urban areas, at children’s hospitals, in public schools, under freeways and at farmer’s markets around the country. His community work with murals is the subject of the children’s book Maybe Something Beautiful, How Art Transformed a Neighborhood. Rafael has also been commissioned to create seven United States Postal Stamps.

These days, López lives and works in an industrial loft in downtown San Diego and at his home/studio in the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. 

Exhibition Curator, Susan Yost Filgate, Fresno Art Museum Education Director

Exhibition funded in part by the Bonner Family Foundation and The Foundation @FCOE


DELICIOUS-final.jpgJuly 31, 2021 to January 9, 2022

Food is, and always has been, one of the defining elements of human existence. Food fuels our everyday lives and is a means of celebration. It should then be no surprise that the depiction of food in art spans all of recorded human history. As long as humans have created art, they have depicted food.

The way food has been depicted in art has changed over time. Food has been used as an experimentation in shape and form as demonstrated by the hyperrealism found in still life paintings. Food is also frequently employed as a metaphor or allegory, conveying meaning such as mortality, luck, desire, or decay. Artists have continued to explore the theme of food into the modern era, experimenting with abstracted forms, juxtaposition of color, and using the theme of food as a tool for social and political commentary.

Delicious: The Art of Food explores the role of food in 20th- and 21st-century art through a selection of works from the Museum’s permanent collection. From the classic still life to political prints to cultural explorations, food is an enduring subject that has inspired artists of every generation.

Curator: Sarah Vargas, FAM Curator

Extended Exhibitions from Previous Seasons:

From the Permanent Collection...


January 25, 2020 to June 27, 2021 (Extended!)

Born in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1932, Jack Coughlin studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and at The Arts Students League of New York. A printmaker, draughtsman, painter, and sculptor, Coughlin is best known for his portraits of literary figures. He is celebrated for his combination of traditional and innovative techniques during the resurgence of intaglio, lithographic, and woodcut printing in the 1960s and 1970s.

A member of the National Academy of Design, Coughlin’s works have been exhibited internationally and are in the collections of notable institutions such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art. Coughlin is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he taught in the Department of Art for more than 35 years.

The portfolio Impressions of Bohemia was conceived by the artist as a way to feature literary figures and photographers who at one point in their lives resided in the Monterey-Carmel-Big Sur area. The Monterey Peninsula is known as an artists’ haven and since the 19th century has attracted artists of all types who were eager to capture the essence of the dramatic shoreline. The subjects of the etchings are Ansel Adams, Gertrude Atherton, Mary Austin, Robinson Jeffers, Sinclair Lewis, Lincoln Steffens, John Steinbeck, George Sterling, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Edward Weston.

Exhibition Curator: Sarah Vargas, FAM Curator

Images: © Jack Coughlin, Robert Lewis Stevenson (L) and Gertrude Atherton (R), from Impressions of Bohemia series1986, Etching 42/125, Gift of James and Barbara Johnson, FAM94.48.11a

Explore some of the works from this exhibition. Click here to begin exploring!



This exhibition season is made possible by a generous grant from


The McClatchy Fresno Arts Endowment 
The James B. McClatchy Foundation 

General exhibition support from The Eaton and Gibson Family Fund of Central Valley Community Foundation, A Friend of the Museum, Christy V. Hicks, Elaine Lynn, Anita M. Shanahan, and David & MaryAnne Esajian.