Art grows here

The Frame collective: a new home for arts community debuts with two days of all-local art, fashion and live performances

Photo courtesy of the frame

“I think the real point of what we’re doing is to start laying the groundwork for a micro-economy centered around local arts in Chico,” said Skyler Sabine, rubbing the five o’clock shadow on his face with one hand.

The slender 33-year-old local filmmaker shared his thoughts on his latest creative undertakings—both the ambitious, two-day, community-building event called The Art of Peace, and the new venue at which it will take place: The Frame, a multimedia production and performance collective housed in the south Chico warehouse space that formerly housed the now-defunct TiON (of which Sabine was also a partner).

On Friday and Saturday (Oct. 23-24), it’s a pretty good bet that the proverbial everybody is going to be at the event being billed as “a world-class collaboration of local culture,” featuring a theatrical fashion show and sale organized by Monica Prather of downtown chic-boutique BOHO, plus “surprise” music, performance and dance acts, an art show featuring 20 local artists, wine, coffee and dessert provided by Monks Wine Lounge & Bistro and Naked Lounge, and a late-night after-party. As she’s done in her shop, Prather has pulled together a who’s who of local designers, including the now-legendary lines of local-designer collective Chikoko, as well as numerous other locals, such as Renouveau, Parasol, Dragonboy and Claire Fong.

Sabine explained how the idea for the show came about during conversations with friends about how to bring the TiON space back to life. Observations were made about what was perceived as a sea change in peoples’ attitudes since the economy took a nosedive.

Sabine had just come back to Chico from a film project he was working on in Louisiana, and noticed that people in general in this laid-back town—artists included—just seemed “more competitive,” more out for themselves, more likely to try to stay afloat in a hostile economy by looking out for No. 1, as opposed to employing a strategy of cooperation with one another.

That observation led the discussion to the topic of The Art of War, the famous Chinese military-strategy book written in the sixth century B.C. by Sun Tzu.

What followed was a kind of aha! moment. Sabine and his friends turned their talk to what they called “the art of peace” and how that might become a theme for what the new venue would set out to accomplish.

“We had to do the flip-side [of war],” explained Sabine. “We wanted [events at The Frame] to be community-based. And we didn’t want to just throw shows”—meaning that the events won’t be solely music events, or solely put on by The Frame (making them competitors with other groups/venues), but rather collaborations among a wider swathe of the community’s players.

Sabine, who is the co-creative director of The Frame, spoke highly of fellow co-director Josh Birch, a recent L.A. transplant, who also took part in of the Art of Peace brainstorming session.

“Josh is extremely devoted to the task of community-building under the umbrella of the arts,” said Sabine. “That’s where he and I really relate the most to each other—this undying passion to work toward the greater good.”

In fact, all the people involved with The Art of Peace are part of a bigger, growing movement of Chico ‘locavores’—which includes business cooperative Think Local, Chico! as well as sewing/performance collective Chikoko—dedicated to fostering a cooperative business and arts environment focused on locally produced goods and services.

“Chikoko have definitely set the stage for this event,” he added. “Their hard work in the community over the years has enabled this type of fashion show to be able to be pulled off.

I personally feel there’s a trend going on now where people who five years ago didn’t care about ‘local’ are starting to care.”