Art Reference Desk
Your quick guide to Chico’s art scene
Maybe the most vibrant arts thread in Chico is the wild and productive fashion-design niche. The Chikoko art/fashion collective is definitely at the forefront of the scene, putting on rambunctious themed parties/runway shows a few times a year (www.chikoko.com). Two downtown locations currently feature the works of local designers—Three Sixty Ecotique (511 Main St.) and the un-named shop (formerly Boho) at 112 W. Second St.
Local artist art
Chico Art Center is Chico’s arts resource, providing instruction, rotating exhibitions, and most impressively, the annual Open Studios Art Tour. In early October, as a kick-off for Artoberfest, more than 100 local artists open their studios for the community to tour. www.chicoartcenter.com.
Every bit of art in town is on display during Artoberfest, the city’s annual month-long celebration of everything “art” in Chico and Butte County. www.artoberfest.org.
Galleries and stores showcasing and selling locally produced art: Avenue 9 Gallery (180 E. Ninth Ave.), Chico Paper Co. (Fourth & Broadway), James Snidle Fine Arts (254 E. Fourth St.) and The Vagabond Rose Gallery (236 Main St.).
SOPO—south of post office art:
Some of the most active and adventurous arts movers and shakers in Chico have started taking over the area south of downtown’s nightlife core.
Starting at 530 Broadway is the new RAYRAY Gallery, home to eclectic shows and arts experimentation brought to you by arguably Chico’s most energetic arts tricksters.
South down Broadway, in the block squared by Broadway, Normal, Eighth and Ninth streets, is the most concentrated collection of arts spaces. The arts queen of this block is the long-running 1078 Gallery (820 Broadway), home to Chico’s most eclectic range of cutting-edge local and visiting arts, music and theater programming for more than two decades. Next door, at 830 Broadway, is the shared quarters of the new The Artistry gallery (in front) and the busy All Fired Up Ceramic Art Center (in the back), and around the Eighth Street side are glass artist Robert O’Neal’s PFC Studios and David Richer’s Earthen Iron Metal Art shop.
This funky side of town wraps around to Main Street, in spirit if not entirely by location, Three Sixty Ecotique, the bohemian Has Beans Café (Fifth & Main) and the locally owned Lyon Books next door to the post office on Fifth.
For a good comprehensive listing of where to find most of the public art out there visit the Chico Visual Arts Alliance’s website at www.chivaa.org. (Note: One of the best isn’t listed there, however, the Lindo Channel Aerosol Art Project—a gallery painted on the beams that support Highway 99 where it passes over the Lindo Channel.)
Chico has four active community theaters (Blue Room Theatre, Chico Cabaret, Chico Theater Company and Rogue Theatre located inside 1078 Gallery), a busy theater department at Chico State, a brand new state-of-the-art black-box theater at Butte College and the annual summer-stock Shakespeare fest put on by the Ensemble Theatre of Chico.
There are no fewer than five art spaces on the Chico State campus: Humanities Center Gallery (Trinity Hall); The Turner (Meriam Library) B-So Space (Ayres Hall), University Art Gallery (Taylor Hall) and the Associated Students’ 3rd Floor Gallery (BMU).