Part two (of two) of Arts DEVO’s year-in-review

Will public art get this big in ‘09?

Will public art get this big in ‘09?

The year is ending, part two
We pick up where we left off with last week’s year-end musings. Last week, our arty types shared their 2008 faves. This week the group answered other questions:

• What, if anything, do you think Chico’s art scene needs?

Erin Wade (artist): More art patrons. Local artists may never be able to survive long-term selling their work in Chico alone, but it would help to expand the base of art appreciators (and buyers) here, maybe through an Art Buying 101 workshop, or public-awareness campaign. With all of the studies out there showing how local arts and culture positively impact local economies, even our less art-minded local representatives should be able to get on board with this!

Zach Zeller (musician):
I think Chico is in need of new faces in the audience. It’s always fun to see new people come out to shows. Maybe two-for-one shows, just to encourage people to bring a friend that may be new to town.

Christine G.K. LaPado (musician/CN&R writer):
I wish we had a club for jazz and comedy (local and touring artists), along the lines of Oakland’s Yoshi’s, including a kids’ matinee. If there was an attached sushi bar/restaurant, all the better. I’d love to see more grand-scale public art, along the lines of the 18-foot-tall Fremont Troll under Seattle’s Aurora Bridge (one of Gregg Payne’s mellifluous, giant wind chimes would add to both Chico’s visual-art and musical spirit). [Ed. note: Payne’s proposed “Windchime Tetrahedron” for Humboldt Park, pictured.] Generally, we need more respect and appreciation for our talented local artists—including the amount they are paid.

• Any advice for broadening music-enjoying horizons?

Jim Dwyer (arts supporter/librarian): The Birdhouse [in Forest Ranch], Café Coda and Café Flo often have very good shows and have a very homey ambience. A good alternative to clubs and concert halls.

• Chico has so many community theaters (four in Chico; six in Butte County). Do you think this helps or hurts the quality of local theater?

Keitha Corbit (local theater/music/art junkie):
The abundance of good local theater companies is one of the things I brag most about when talking about life here.

As far as I can tell the only things that suffer from this “curse of many blessings” is the tussle over theatergoer time and money and operational challenges (board members, volunteers, competition for rights, facilities, etc.).

The caliber of the talent (acting, set production, costuming, scoring) and breadth of offerings is phenomenal for a community our size. It’s a tribute to the cooperation of the companies in the area. If they were “warring factions” instead of collaborators, it would be a different story. Don’t get me wrong, I know there has been some of that (the big, Blue elephant in the room?) but not to cannibalistic proportions. I haven’t seen a conspicuous thinning of the talent pool with the addition of a couple of new companies; I see more folks getting chances to get roles and get better.

Just asking
One of Art Devo’s resolutions for 2009 will be to ask more questions regarding the financial health of the local art scene. Are there artists making a living making art in Chico? Will Chico’s passionate arts populace be able to bolster the arts scene during a sagging economy?

I also have a few personal questions to ponder in the new year: Will there be any more noisy local bands born to challenge Secret Stolen or West by Swan in my rapidly thinning comfort zone of rock? Can I reasonably make it to all locally produced theater this season? As I close in on 40, is it just creepy for me to be bouncing around at an all-ages show at Monstros Pizza? I guess we’ll all find out.

Have a happy New Year, Chico. For 2009, let’s resolve to try something new, to sleep in more and, definitely, to hang out much more often.