Goin’ Chico: Arts
Arty town reputation
1. Play time
For a town Chico's size, there are a respectable number of theater options, each offering something a little different. In addition to the university's program—contemporary and classic works presented by the School of the Arts (www.schoolofthearts-csuchico.com)—there are three community theaters in Chico: Blue Room Theatre (modern and contemporary works, and occasional late-night fare, www.blueroomtheatre.com), Chico Theater Co. (small-scale Broadway musicals, www.chicotheatercompany.com), California Regional Theatre (large-scale Broadway musicals, www.crtshows.com).2. Life's rich Pageant
For 36 years, the Pageant Theatre has been Chico's dependable art-house screen, showcasing independent films that otherwise would never have found their way to our little North State island. (Local tip: Monday is cheap night—all seats $4.) And in the past year, the neighborhood theater has added regular late-night showings of cult classics paired with live performances by local bands. 351 E. Sixth St., www.pageantchico.com3. Art party
Most local galleries and cafes kick off new art exhibits by putting out some snacks and beverages and hosting the artist for a meet and greet. Some even bring in live music. And it's free. The opening shindigs at the 1078 Gallery (820 Broadway, www.1078gallery.org) are particularly lively.4. What's a “Chikoko”?
The weird, colorful and always-entertaining Chikoko is a fashion and performance troupe that is a cornerstone of Chico's unique art scene. Formed in 2005, the group is currently made up of five local designers/artists/performers who embrace creativity and innovation via original fashions and various functions hosted around town. Look for the annual, and very popular, fashion-show/performance extravaganza at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in the fall, and the Bizarre Bazaar arts and craft fair in December. www.chikoko.com5. Art de l'académie
Make a day of art-walking by visiting the galleries on the Chico State campus. There are the big ones—The Turner Print Museum and the University Art Gallery—but there also other lesser-known spaces that offer a rotating schedule of student art throughout the school year. The B-SO Space in Ayres Hall is a great place to start a tour that continues to the tiny Laxson Fine Arts Gallery on the second floor of Laxson Auditorium, then the Humanities Center Gallery (highlighting visiting artists) in Trinity Hall, followed by The Turner in the Meriam Library building and the Third Floor Gallery in the BMU. Finish up at the brand new Arts & Humanities building, which houses the University Art Gallery, in addition to other yet-to-be-unveiled art spaces. www.csuchico.edu/art6. Public art crawl
You can find art throughout Chico, and you don't have to enter a single gallery to experience it. From the impressively tiled Sea Serpent in Caper Acres to the Lindo Channel Aerosol Art Project to the many murals covering iconic downtown buildings, there is more art than can be visited in one day. Visit the city website for details on Chico's public art and an Art in Public Places map: www.chico.ca.us/arts_commission/home_page.asp7. Butcher Shop
There is no quicker path to local cred than taking in the annual Butcher Shop theater festival. For two nights over Labor Day weekend, a collection of Chico's theater- and music-types—including many visiting expats—convene in an orchard at the end of Normal Street for a program of live music, original avant-garde one-acts and the staging of a classic tableau. Nearly every arts-loving Chicoan, young and old, will be there. www.face book.com/TheButcherShopChico8. The polka-dot house
Local artist Norm Dillinger has covered his entire house, (aka Lumina), outside and in, in polka-dotted paintings. The walls are covered. The windows are covered. His guitar is covered. Even his yard and his truck in the driveway are covered. It's like a pointillist painting come to life. Walk by and knock on the door for a tour. 821 Orient St.9. Keep Chico Weird
Wacky annual talent show and freakfest (Jan. 28, 2017).