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The Blue and White

Honoring local troops: the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery

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Jolie Wyatt

When being in the downtown Bakersfield business district, locals come into contact with a mix of different art exhibitions. One amongst the masses is the “Portrait of a Warrior” Gallery.

This gallery opened in 2018 and was founded by co-founders Lili Marsh, Al Cabrera, and Thomas Zachery with a heavy dream to remember those killed in action. The gallery is for those from Kern County who have fallen since the September 11, 2001 attack. 

Jolie Wyatt

Sandi Jantz is the executive director of the gallery. Speaking with her is an eye-opening experience for visitors.

Jantz has been with the gallery for approximately two years. She spends her time educating people in the community about these fallen members of service. 

The idea for the gallery started with an artist from Houston, Texas. Marsh saw a YouTube video covering the art of Ken Pridgen; Pridgen had an idea to make portraits of the fallen heroes of Sep. 11. Marsh was deeply affected by his art, and she wanted to do something of the same effect right here in Kern County. 

After reaching out to Ken for approval, the gallery was in downtown Bakersfield’s center. 

“It started off as a small room,” Jantz says about the building where it all started. 

There was no intention of the gallery growing into what it is now. Notably, the gallery could only be what it is today with the support of local veterans. Since its expansion from that little room, the gallery now has tributes for almost every war.  

Jolie Wyatt

In its original room, there are currently 178 portraits of fallen warriors. Some of these fallen people are alumni of Bakersfield High School including Herman Mackey and Domenico Baroncini. The portraits were done by a mix of different artists, including Pridgen.

Along with the memorial for Sep.11, there is a room dedicated to how these warriors would set up and live their daily lives. This room is fully equipped with everything they would need to be successful in their days at war.  

In that room, there is a myriad of things that were brought back from Afghanistan. The room includes items such as med bags, cotts, and maps covered in pins. There is also real radio feed playing throughout the room for viewers to listen to while they look around.

Jolie Wyatt

This is a must-see in the downtown area.

How to check it out

The gallery is located at 1925 Eye St, Bakersfield, CA 93301. 

The gallery’s hours are

Tuesday – Thursday: 11 AM – 3 PM

Saturday: 11 AM – 3 PMThe gallery can be reached at (661) 479-5095.

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About the Contributor
Jolie Wyatt, Editor-in-Chief
Jolie Wyatt is the current Editor-in-Chief of “The Blue and White” at Bakersfield High School. When Wyatt isn’t writing or editing stories, she can be seen cheering at sporting events and rallies. Wyatt can also be found in the theater with Driller Drama.

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    Sandi JantzJan 24, 2024 at 3:09 pm

    Jolie Wyatt, thank you so much for writing this article about your visits to Portrait of a Warrior Gallery. We feel it’s a hidden gem in downtown Bakersfield and your sharing your impressions through the Blue and White is much appreciated.

    For anyone interested, we offer docent led tours and can make arrangements for private tours. We would love to share this place where we honor the service of local young men and women who have served in the military with more high school students and BHS is practically our neighbor.

    Thank you again, Jolie,
    Sandi Jantz
    Deputy Executive Director
    Portrait of a Warrior Gallery

    Reply