Slow Food group co-hosts art-and-food fundraiser for struggling 1078 Gallery
As corny as it might sound, it’s true that it may take a village—the supportive community of Chico—to save an art gallery.
The 1078 Gallery is in trouble. The gallery has been an innovative Chico institution for nearly 30 years, and according to exhibition committee chairwoman Thomasin Saxe, it recently lost one-third of its funding from the city—“and that’s a lot.”
Add to that the fact that the gallery’s rent is $1,800 per month, which is not covered by city-grant money, and things really look scary.
“We live to pay rent,” said Saxe. “That’s all we’re doing.”
Enter Lori Weber, co-leader of Slow Food Shasta-Cascade and Chico State political science professor, and fellow Slow Food member and longtime local caterer Marianne Brenner. Weber and Brenner have teamed up with Saxe and 1078 supporter Giety Epting to create a multifaceted fundraising event called Lentamente: The Art of Slow Food.
“Lentamente” means “slowly” in Italian, and the three-day event (July 15-17) featuring a food-related photography exhibit, a food-focused music-and-poetry night, and an evening of chef-prepared “tastings” is a celebration of slowly prepared, locally produced food made from seasonal, local produce and meats.
Local photographers—from novice to professional—are invited to submit photographs celebrating the seasonal produce of Butte County to be shown all three days on the walls of 1078 Gallery. Half of the $78 selling price of each photo will go to the gallery.
As for the tasting, local second-generation chef Woody Guzzetti, Bacio Catering’s Amanda Leveroni, Spice Creek’s Rebecca Stewart, Cindy Medeiros, Angelo Lucido of Cucina Trinacria and Brenner will be among the “10 or more chefs” participating, said Brenner.
All proceeds from the $30 ticket price for the tasting event will go to the gallery after food costs are subtracted.
“The focus is on seasonal produce, and that will be reflected in the food we serve,” said Brenner.
Brenner couldn’t say for sure exactly what would be on the various chefs’ menus, though. But that’s part of the fun.
“The menu morphs and changes right up to the event,” she explained. “It depends on availability. … If you want to view some of the things that might be available for this event, take a stroll through the farmers’ market for a preview.”
Brenner was certain, however, that tomatoes would be appearing.
“The No. 1 vegetable will be ripe tomatoes that everyone’s been waiting for,” she added. “And basil.”
“One of the things about the Slow Food movement is to celebrate the pleasures of a slow way of life,” Weber offered. This event, like other Slow Food events, she said, aims to “connect us with our community, the community around our food, and who prepares our food—our chefs.”
“And it’s a great collaboration, between two nonprofits [1078 and Slow Food],” Brenner added.
At the tasting, people will be able to peruse the bounty of photographs gracing the gallery’s walls while they chit-chat, graze leisurely on small plates and sip on Feather River Brewery beer and wine from Redding’s Matson Vineyards.
Members of the public will be able to view the photographs without charge during the gallery’s regular hours July 15-17. Photos will be offered for sale during this time as well.
While photographic submissions do not have to officially be at the gallery until July 10, some have already been trickling in, such as local artist Elizabeth Newman Kuiper’s “Squash and Beans” in shades of green, and Bill Houck’s serene, white-toned still life of garlic bulbs on a white background.
“We’re hoping to get a hundred photos, and we’re hoping to fill the walls,” offered Saxe, who stressed that the photo show is “open to the community. It’s not judged or curated. It’s ‘open arms.’”