FrameStore's craftsmen have created more than 250,000 custom frames in the store’s 35-year tenure, designing pieces that now adorn the walls of prestigious institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Ritz-Carlton, and the Walt Disney Company. Professional designers guide FrameStore’s clients through the 2,200 moulding options that can accent paintings and treasured items while adding style and elegance to rooms. The store’s craftsmen then fashion pieces to patron specifications, outfitting frames with classic or museum-quality glass that blocks UV rays from bleaching out images or censoring pictures of the moon. Every piece goes through a 16-point inspection before it is given to patrons, and the team averages a seven-day turnaround on all of its projects.
Selections from more than 3,000 paintings, drawings, and sculptures are rotated in changing exhibits at the Long Beach Museum of Art, capturing in one swoop approximately 300 years of artistic history. Ceramics from the 1700s, early 20th-century European art, and modern visions from local artists are permanent fixtures in the museum. These pieces are joined by an array of temporary exhibits, such as Catherine Opie's photographs and a tribute to the late artist Karl Benjamin, known for his vibrant geometric paintings and ability to draw perfect equilateral triangles.
As a community-driven organization, Long Beach Museum of Art survives on donations. In turn, it provides the public with educational and cultural programs, such as free monthly workshops and tours for local school groups. After a trip to the museum, visitors can enjoy a meal at Claire’s, an oceanside restaurant that houses Claire Falkenstein’s water sculpture, Structure and Flow.
"The thing I like most about pottery is that it's a learned skill," says Clay Wood, the owner of the pottery studio that bears his name. "It's something you can just sit down, and practice, and just learn it. You don't have to be innately artsy or creative, it's just something that's learnable and fun for everyone."
It's true that Clay has had a bit of a head start in the art form: he began developing his classically harmonious ceramic forms starting at age 12. But he also knows what it's like to be just another weekend hobbyist. Before starting the shop, he had established a career managing high-rise condos while dreamily spinning his desk chair like a pottery wheel. Now that he's dug his hands back into the clay, he and his fellow instructors design adult and children's classes to meet the needs of aspiring ceramicists and more casual crafters alike.
All the throwing, glazing, and hand-building goes down in a colorful creativity zone bursting with incandescent designs. The studio is equipped with eight electric pottery wheels, two large hand-building tables, an entrancing in-wall kiln, and a wellspring of stunning glazes for both handmade projects and prepared forms awaiting only a painter's brush.
Soft lighting and tastefully modern music welcome guests to The Wine Bar, a comfortable library of libation where patrons pleasurably peruse wines, beers, and shrunken plates. Twenty-two wines from around the world gather to test tongues with grapey glugs of Fat Cat's 2008 pinot grigio and Parone's Chilean syrah (all bottles are $30). The Wine Bar's one score and five beers include a multitude of bottled options, such as North Coast Brewing Co.'s Old Rasputin—a cassock-black, Russian-style stout infused with complex flavors, 75 IBUs, 9% ABV, and imperviousness to bullets ($6)—or drafts such as Paulaner's German hefeweizen. Because the stomach cannot digest liquid without accompanying solids, customers can snack on assorted cheeses with olives and crackers ($10) or traditional hummus with a heated pita ($8).
At The Pumpkin Factory, festive gourds bring an orange glow to the atmosphere, setting the scene for an exciting fall carnival. At three locations, kids leap into the air in inflatable bounce houses, converse with the goats at the petting zoo, and trot around on gentle ponies. In Corona, a special EuroBobble attraction lets guests play buoy, rolling atop a pool in a clear, inflatable bubble. At the Westminster Pumpkin Factory, helicopters take flight for scenic tours of the fairgrounds. At the end of the day, families can take home a pumpkin of their own to create a gruesome jack 'o' lantern doppelganger of their neighbor.