As a civic leader in a city boasting a one-percent public art ordinance for all new, major city construction projects, Bedford Gallery’s curator Carrie Lederer has worked passionately to build Walnut Creek’s public art profile. “Public art is a civic asset, a way to recognize our history,” says Lederer, “It enhances our streetscape. It provides community place-making. Having art on the street makes it a fascinating part of our daily lives.” Walnut Creek’s rich public art scene has blossomed under Lederer’s brilliant direction—Seyed Alavi’s Fountain Head on Main Street, Kristin Farr’s West Coast Barn Quilt at Lesher Center for the Arts, Patrick Dougherty’s For Sure in Civic Park, to name only a few.
Housed inside the Lesher Center for the Arts, the Bedford Gallery opened in 1990. Lederer has been with the gallery for 22 years and stays attuned to the public pulse of her art exhibits but allows her “elastic” interests to veer off traditional exhibition-style pathways. Pop culture has drawn large audiences eager to explore the artistic merit in hot rods, inflatables, secret postcards, skate art, American quilts, Frida, and nature.
An artist in her own right, Lederer finds inspiration in her garden for paintings and sculptures. “My interactions with nature are daily. I always stop to pick up something that has died, grown, or been eaten. I’ve been attracted to both real and surreal work,” she says. “It mimics the lives we lead. It’s intensely wonderful, but bizarre, the world that mother nature has made.”