What’s an Artoberfest? Last October the Chico Arts Commission worked with Friends of the Arts and other organizations to create the first of what they hope will be an annual event in Chico. With $10,000 to spend and riding on arts events already being produced in October, the commission slapped its name on window stickers, fliers and refrigerator magnets and branded Artoberfest as one big month-long event. A few artists have grumbled about the city taking credit for arts events already happening rather than creating its own, and the Chico Art Center (having moved its Open Studios Art Tour to October for the event) didn’t sell as many guides as the previous year. Only time and more money will tell. The City Council has already voted to give the event a $50,000 budget for 2006 to help build a signature art event, deciding to test the event before committing to three years and the $150,000 that was requested.
Not Artoberfest In its December meeting (attended by four people) the arts commission voted to send the Artoberfest project to bid in January with its $50,000 budget. After my own grumblings last month about a lack of bids for the $250,000 plaza park project, it’s good to see an RFP this time (am I the only one wondering why a $50,000 project goes to bid, but not a $250,000 project?). The RFP is open to anyone wanting to bid on the arts-related project and can be obtained by contacting Mary Gardner at 896-7214.
Benched Again The arts commission also voted to recommend giving another $10,000 to continue the local bench project. If the City Council OKs the budget, the funds (about $8,000 after city overhead fees) will be available in June 2006. Rather than larger 6-foot benches, they will be grouped in “clusters” of two to four benches 14-by-14 inches in diameter. The reason for clusters is the challenge of placing or relocating larger benches in the crowded downtown area. Last year a bench caused controversy because ol’ Jim decided the bench in front of Zucchini & Vine was a great all-day resting place. The decision was made to move the bench to the other side of the street and down near the old El Rey Theater. This hasn’t stopped Jim from sitting against the wall of Zucchini & Vine all day and proving that it wasn’t the bench that was his motivation for being there.
Water Under the Bridges Under his direction, local urban artist Chase Moreau and a group of local and national urban artists finished the city-funded 99 Dreams graffiti murals project in October. Now, with the winter rains sending a deluge of water down Lindo Channel, some of the murals are partially submerged but are still worth viewing. The Sherwood Forest and Martin Luther King Jr. murals are beautiful. If you’re lucky, there’ll be someone under the age of 20 hanging out to help you decipher the writings on the walls. Take a ride or walk over to the Highway 99 overpass by Manzanita Avenue to get a good look.