Intro to Chico art

A students’ guide to local art and theater

Artist and arts scenemaker Dean Hernandez takes in an opening at RAYRAY Gallery.

Artist and arts scenemaker Dean Hernandez takes in an opening at RAYRAY Gallery.

Photo By Kyle Delmar

Just the cold, hard art facts for the local-arts beginner. A cut-out introduction to the local arts scene.

On the walls

There are more than 20 art exhibits in Chico right now. And most of the galleries, shops and cafés displaying those works will be switching out those shows for all new art in the next month or so. New art by both local and touring artists is constantly going up, especially in the two hot spots for visual art in Chico—the galleries/museums on the Chico State campus, and spaces in the SOPO (South of Post Office) in downtown Chico.

Chico State

3rd Floor Gallery: Student works, upstairs in the BMU. www.aschico/com/3rdfloorgallery.

B-SO Space: Student works shown between the stairs and the office in Ayres Hall.

Humanities Center Gallery: Renowned local and touring artists in Trinity 100 and hallway.

The Turner: Collection of prints by Janet Turner and other world-class artists in the first floor of Meriam Library.

University Art Gallery: Works by students and renowned regional and national artists. Taylor 111.


1078 Gallery, 820 Broadway: Home to Chico’s most eclectic, cutting-edge local and visiting art, music and theater.

The Artistry/All Fired Up Ceramic Studio, 830 Broadway: Two venues in one space. The Artistry out front showcases local and regional works of multiple media, and All Fired Up is the workspace for local ceramic artists. and

RAYRAY Gallery, 530 Broadway: Energetic collective of local arts tricksters putting on fun and exciting exhibits of multiple disciplines and media. Look ’em up on Facebook.

Other downtown art

Art, Etc. (122 W. Third St.), Chico Paper Co. (345 Broadway) and The Vagabond Rose Gallery & Framing (236 Main St.) are three art stores around the corner from one another that offer framing services in addition to showing and selling local and regional art.

James Snidle Fine Arts (254 E. Fourth St.): A fine-art gallery and appraiser that features colorful rotating exhibits of regional and national artists.

Cafés: Coffee shops are sometimes home to some of the best local art (and they for sure put on the tastiest opening receptions): Most are downtown—Has Beans Café, Naked Lounge, Tin Roof Bakery & Café, Upper Crust Bakery—with just a couple notables existing a few ticks off the central grid: Café Flo (365 E. Sixth St.) and Empire Coffee (434 Orange St., in the traincar).

Off the beaten path

The Art House, 325 Nord Ave.: Artist couple Dave and Jana Lawton’s sculpture garden and art studios.

Avenue 9 Gallery, 180 E. Ninth Ave.: Bustling gallery showcasing works by its own arts guild as well as local and regional artists.

Chico Art Center, 450 Orange St.: Chico’s arts resource, providing art instruction, rotating exhibitions, and most impressively, the annual Open Studios Art Tour (Oct. 2-3 & 9-10).

Sally Dimas Art Gallery, 493 East Ave., #1: Local and regional works in multiple media.

Photo By

A night of theater

With four active community theaters in Chico (and one each in Paradise and Oroville), busy theater departments at both the university and community college, plus the annual Chico Summer Theatre Festival put on by Ensemble Theatre of Chico, there is more live theater happening in this area than we know what to do with.

For the most part, plays in Chico run for two to four weeks and show Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights, with some theaters featuring Sunday matinees as well. One notable exception is Chico State, where plays typically last one week, showing Tues.-Sun.

Community Theaters

Birdcage Theatre, 1740 Bird St., Oroville: Oroville’s long-running community theater.

Blue Room Theatre, 139 W. First St.: Fun, irreverent and committed company putting on adventurous original, contemporary and selected classic plays.

Chico Cabaret, 2201 Pillsbury Road (Almond Orchard Center): Sometimes saucy, sometimes campy, and almost always musical, the Cabaret is a fun reason to leave downtown for an evening.

Chico Theater Co., 166-F Eaton Road: Broadway’s greatest musical hits.

Rogue Theatre, 820 Broadway (inside 1078 Gallery): Seasoned local company putting on challenging modern and classic works. &

Theatre on the Ridge: The area’s longest-running community theater is up in Paradise.

Theater schools

Butte College Theater: Showing one major production each semester in the new black-box theater on the main campus.

Chico State Theater: The hub of Chico’s theater scene, presenting three or four quality selections each semester—from avant-garde, to classics to the annual spring musical.