Arts DEVOté

But is it arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt?

But is it arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt?

Park of your dreams
I don’t care what y’all say. I’m not ready to condemn the design of the new Downtown Plaza Park. It’s just like with a new neighborhood—you gotta wait till nature re-grows before the whole picture can be realized—unless you’re an artist.

Avenue 9 Gallery ( is encouraging local artists to create their own vision by putting together Chico Icons “Paint Out Days,” a week-long plein-air get-together (Oct. 13-22) around the site of the new plaza: “We invite you to take liberties, let your imagination soar, express your feelings.” A section of the gallery’s November Chico Icons exhibit will be devoted to these plein-air interpretations.

Maybe an even better visionary tactic would be to throw aside the notion that it had to be a park that went into the space? I like some action in my paintings. Let’s really inspire people. What about a watercolor of some waterslides? (Who needs trees when you have thousands of gallons of chlorinated water?) Or miniature golf? How about a casino? Like the Treasure Island one, with pirates and cannons. Now that has potential to be a masterpiece.

Detail from Chico musician Marty Parker’s new mural at Sierra View Elementary: It’s “bona fide public art,” says Parker.

Go public
If you make art and you’ve always dreamed of getting paid to make your art, the City of Chico is ponying up several opportunities for artists to put their work outside, where it will be scrutinized and argued about for decades. Projects open to proposals include downtown art benches and concrete pedestal seats (deadline Sept. 29); City Plaza heritage elm sculpture (deadline Oct. 6); Forest Avenue median art (deadline Oct. 20); and Oakway Park sculpture (Oct. 20). For more info contact Mary Gardner, Art Projects coordinator, at (530) 896-7214 or visit Or, attend an informational Artists Opportunities meeting on Mon., Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. in Conference Room 1 inside the City Council building, 421 Main Street.

And, one-for-the-road companies
Sometimes it’s hard to bust out of the Chicosphere, especially for live theater. After all, we have a university and three community theaters in the city. But, the two longest-running community theaters in the county are actually located in Paradise and Oroville. Both are opening shows for September, and by chance both are opening shows by the same playwright, A.R. Gurney.

The 30-year-old Theatre On The Ridge is showing Gurney’s Sylvia , about a Labradoodle mix that becomes the catalyst for change in a couple’s marriage. Open Sept 7. (530) 877-5760.

The Birdcage in Oroville is presenting the dual-personality comedy Sweet Sue , about a greeting-card designer named Susan and a psychological second version of Susan (Susan Too) who falls for her son’s college roommate (Jake, and Jake Too). Opens Sept. 15. (530) 534-BIRD. (Oh, and she wants to paint the young buck’s portrait, in the nude.)

Jason Cassidy is a former CN&R arts editor and current calendar editor and is on the board of the 1078 Gallery.