Arts DEVOté

University Farm flag by Jesus Ramirez

University Farm flag by Jesus Ramirez

Why the horse? “It’s like asking, ‘Why the sun?’ ‘Why the heart?’ ‘Why the color purple?’ If there were a monarchy, the horse would be king. And no matter how you stack up other domesticated animals, none has quite the stature of the horse. Perhaps it is because of the inherent wildness that is always lurking behind their eyes. … Without the horse, the cowboy becomes a herder. Napoleon is infantry. And taxation without representation becomes the sport of kings.”

—Baxter Black, from “The Horse Stands Above All”

Friends of the Arts director and Artoberfest honcho Debra Lucero is sharing this NPR reading by famed cowboy poet (and former large animal vet) Baxter Black to help get Chico in a horse frame of mind for the upcoming kickoff event for Artoberfest—Chico Palio, Sept. 30. The kickoff takes place in the Municipal Building parking lot beginning at 10 a.m. and will include a performance by the Alliance of Chico Theatres, displays by local arts organizations, the Palio horse race, and the annual Mayor Arts Awards presentation.

The horse race with community-made horses, community-made flags and community racers is starting to take shape, as the first flag design has come in: a playful farm-themed homage to the university’s agriculture department by Jesus Ramirez. (Hey, where’s the Meats Lab?) Other flags in the works include “One Mile” (by Mabrie Ormes), “Raccoons” (Crux Arts) and “The Esplanade” (Paula Busch).

All aboard the Artoberfest Express: The reason for the season, of course, is Chico’s top-rated arts scene (Number 10! In your face, Gerber!), and some of the more notable Artoberfest productions by local arts presenters include:

Graham Nash at Butte College: OK, so Nash isn’t local, but his digital photos soon will be. The “N” of CSN (and sometimes Y) is actually well-known for his digital pics, and the newly christened Butte Art & Design Digital Outdoor Gallery (BAD DOG) will be showing a few in October. And, if tour scheduling permits, Mr. Nash will even be showing up for an as-of-yet-unscheduled opening.

Open Studios Tour: This is the real big dog. Over 100 galleries and artist studios open at the same time for you. The reception happens Oct. 6, 7-9 p.m. at the Chico Art Center, with two weekends of open touring to follow (Oct. 7, 8, 14 & 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.). Purchase tour guides ($10) at Chico Art Center.

John-2: The director of Chico State’s Keyboard Program also happens to be a world-class pianist, and during the waning days of Artoberfest, John Milbauer will tackle John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano. The “prepared” part of the title refers to the screws, bolts, nuts, plastic and rubber eraser that are attached to the piano’s strings, so you aren’t likely to see something like this again in Chico for, well, forever. The 1078 Gallery is hosting a dinner and performance, Oct. 27, 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 and are going fast. Contact Thomasin Saxe at, or 898-4642.