TAKE IT SOMEPLACE ELSE As fast as it’s growing, Chico is still a small town. And if you’re involved in the arts, you’ll get to know a lot of artists quickly. I ran into two artists in downtown Chico last week who felt compelled to complain (and rightly so) about the lack of people willing to purchase their art. In the last few years I’ve been hearing this from a lot of artists. What usually follows next is: “I’m going to start selling outside of Chico.” And my reply? “It’s about time.” I say this because I’m tired of telling these same artists to get involved with arts locally and having it fall on deaf ears. However, I also believe it’s a good thing to be seen outside of Chico. For artists interested in local promotion, the Chico Arts Commission offers them and the general public three minutes at the beginning of each meeting to talk about themselves, art openings, etc. The meetings are televised and would be a great promotional tool. Sadly, artists rarely attend the meetings.
SPEAKING OF SMALL TOWNS What’s the lifespan of a “Best of” book? It took almost three years (from the time Chico was chosen) for John Villani’s book, The 100 Best Art Towns in America to be published; the one where Chico is named the “No. 10 Best Small Art Town.” A year later it’s still being used to promote Chico and the arts, but are we really what the book says? Since it was released, many of the art studios on Second Street are gone. I know I’m not the only one who misses visiting the late Paul Feldhaus’ studio and Elizabeth Kuiper’s large studio; both replaced by businesses able to pay higher rent. The Chico Art Center’s Open Studios Art Tour, one of the largest art events in Chico, attracts more artists each year, but not more ticket buyers. All of this comes after the city gave the Chico Chamber of Commerce $150,000 to create the “Art, It’s in Our Nature” tourism campaign designed to promote Chico as a must-see arts destination. I think it’s time to put some funding into promoting Chico arts to Chicoans.
LOCALS ONLY In an effort to promote local artists, I’m going to spotlight a couple in each column. I’ll begin this week with two talented artists who are sharing a project. Dylan Tellesen recently picked up a Sacramento commission to create an installation including a fireplace, a fountain and tile mosaic at the bottom of a swimming pool at a private residence. Check out some of his work at: www.dtellesen.com. Robin Indar, another local artist who created the downtown art bench in front of the old El Rey Theatre on Second Street, will be working alongside Tellesen. You can find samples of her work at: www.robinindar.com.
$50,000 BIG ONES I wrote last month that the RFP for the Arts Commission’s Artoberfest project was due out in early January. It didn’t happen. Look for it now in the first part of February.
SURF THESE Adhemas is the Flash portfolio of 24-year-old Brazilian designer/illustrator Adhemas Batista: www.adhemas.com, the 44Boards art project showcasing work by various artists: www.thunc.com/44boards and the paintings and illustrations of Marshall Arisman: www.marshallarisman.com.