The Arts

Enjoying the arts

There’s no denying Chico’s love affair with art. From downtown walls and sidewalks to coffee shops and hidden-away galleries, the city is alive with beautiful and creative works. And now, it’s easier than ever to check out the reasons our region is known as one of the top arts communities of its size in the country. The first Saturday of every month, select local galleries, studios, nightclubs, restaurants and coffee houses open their doors from 4-8 p.m. for Art 1st Saturday. The Chico News & Review sponsors the monthly event, and provides a listing and map in each edition that precedes the event. Many stops are within yards of each other, so get out, take a stroll and enjoy the arts!

Museums and galleries

1078 Gallery
820 Broadway. 343-1973. This artist-managed, nonprofit gallery is a showcase for experimental, progressive and “not necessarily commercial” art. Hours: Wednesday–Saturday, 12:30-5:30 p.m.

24-Hr. Drive By Gallery
117 W. Seventh St. 343-0202. This family affair opened its doors nearly 16 years ago and is still run by local artist David Sisk, his son Jeb and his daughter Onnah. The gallery features a large window for easy viewing at any time. Hours: Friday 6-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; or drive by whenever.

All Fired Up! Ceramic Art Center
830 Broadway. 894-5227. Chico’s newest addition to the arts community is All Fired Up! It’s a combination art gallery, open studio (with clay-working tools) and a ceramic supply outlet with clays, glazes, tools and raw materials. There are also classes and opportunities for parties and workshops.

Art Etc.
122 W. Third St. 895-1161. The place for art supplies, framing and rotating exhibits from local artists. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Avenue 9 Gallery
180 East Ninth Ave. 879-1821. Avenue 9 has earned a reputation for diverse, interesting shows, snagging the Mayor’s Award for Contributions to the Arts of Chico in 2005. Open Wednesday–Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

895-2880. The Butte Art & Design Digital Outdoor Gallery has two outdoor locations: Business department on Butte College main campus and in downtown Chico at Second and Broadway.

BMU Third Floor Gallery
Located on the third-floor lobby of the Bell Memorial Union on the Chico State campus. The Associated Students run this gallery, which features original student works throughout the school year.

Chico Art Center
450 Orange St. 895-8726. Established in 1956, this nonprofit arts place offers regular exhibits as well as classes for all levels. Open Wednesday–Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

Chico Paper Co.
345 Broadway, 891-0900. In the heart of downtown, this custom framing and retail shop features works by more than 25 local artists, with new exhibits appearing regularly. Open weekdays 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 pm.

Crux Artist Collective
1421 Park Ave. 566-0176. The Crux, now tucked into its new location, offers work space for artists and is known as one of the hipper places to see visual and performance art and live music. Open Thursday–Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

152 E. Third St. Located around the corner from Vagabond Rose, deSouza carries everything from quirky knickknacks to quality paintings. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.

Ghostdance Gallery
173 E. 13th St. 899-0144. Built around Native American philosophies, the Ghostdance Gallery features charcoal works as well as other mixed-media works. Open Thursday–Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Healing Art Gallery
265 Cohasset Rd. (at Enloe Cancer Center) 332-3855. Healing Art Gallery features exhibits by Northern California artists whose lives have been touched by cancer. Open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5:30pm.

Humanities Center Gallery
Trinity Hall, Chico State campus. 898-4642. Located on the Chico State campus, the Humanities Center Gallery usually runs two simultaneous exhibits (Main Gallery and The Hallway) of established local and visiting artists. Hours: Monday–Thursday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday 8-11 a.m.

James Snidle Fine Arts and Appraisals
254 E. Fourth St., 343-2787 or (415) 850-7898. Now based in San Francisco, James Snidle offers fine arts and personal property appraisals, gallery shows, art restoration and conservation, and art sales in Chico for one week every month.

Janet Turner Print Museum
Mezzanine level of Laxson Auditorium on the Chico State Campus. 898-4476. Besides some 2,000 prints from the famous Janet Turner, this print museum also showcases student print exhibits and sponsors the annual Janet Turner National Print Competition and Exhibition. Hours: weekdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Orient & Flume Art Glass
2161 Park Ave., 893-0373. Art glass at its finest. This space offers interested buyers a variety of vases, bowls and assorted glassworks. There is also a viewing area to watch the glassblowers at their trade. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sally Dimas Art Gallery
493 East Ave. 345-3063. Sally Dimas features original paintings, art pottery, etchings and jewelry by local and regional artists. Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; and during performances.

University Art Gallery
Taylor Hall on the Chico State campus. A student-centered gallery exhibiting national and international artists, plus an annual Masters of Fine Arts exhibit and a Juried Student Exhibition in the spring.

Vagabond Rose Gallery & Framing
236 Main St. 343-1110. This gallery, owned by Marilyn Souza for more than 25 years, features exhibits from local artists that rotate on a monthly basis. Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you’re into art, but in a more café-type setting, here are some other locations that have regular exhibits.

Café Flo
365 E. Sixth St. (near the Pageant Theatre). 892-0356.

Grilla Bites
119 W. Second St. 894-2691 and Grilla Bites Garden Villa, 196 Cohasset Rd. 343-4876.

Has Beans Internet Café & Galleria
501 Main St. 894-3033.

Lost On Main
319 Main St. 892-2445 (ages 21 and up)

Monks Wine Lounge & Bistro
128 W. Second St. 343-3408.

Moxie’s Café & Gallery
128 Broadway. 345-0601.

The Naked Lounge
118 W. Second St. 895-0676.

Pommes Frites
138 Broadway, 893-9622.

Steam & Bean Espresso
1354 East Ave. Ste. U, 899-2660.

Upper Crust Bakery & Café
130 Main St. 895-3866.

Zucchini & Vine
204 Main St. 345-3551.

Downtown’s Blue Room Theatre consistently produces top-quality theater.


The Chico theater scene is vibrant and extends beyond the university, with several companies bringing different styles to the stage. The newly formed Alliance of Chico-area Theatres is a testament to the wide variety of quality choices for theater in this area. Check the Calendar section of the Chico News & Review, and keep an eye out for posters advertising productions.

Blue Room Theatre
139 W. First St. (upstairs), 895-3749.
This veteran outfit brings community theater to a professional level with well-produced, cutting-edge and classical dramas, and comedies featuring talented local actors. Scripts range from the locally written to the award-winning. Learn more at

Butte College Department of Performing Arts
The community college has been presenting one drama or musical each semester since the 1970s, ranging from classical to contemporary productions. The actors also take to the classroom with the annual Shakespeare in the Schools touring production.

Chico Cabaret Theatre
2201 Pillsbury Road, Ste. C1 (in the Almond Orchard Shopping Center), 895-0245.
Chico Cabaret focuses on lively musicals, comedies and adult dramas. Tables are set dinner-theater style, and live music often accompanies productions. The Cabaret’s companion organization is Theatre on the Inside Out, which invites young people and families to participate in theatrical events. While providing entertainment, the theater strives to increase tolerance in the community and provide a sense of belonging. Learn more at

Chico Theater Company
166 Eaton Road, 894-3282.
Chico Theater Company was started by locals Marc Edson and Brian Holderman with the goal of showcasing Broadway musicals. Housed in the former home of the Eaton Road Opera House, CTC plans eight shows a year, with premieres on Wednesdays and shows Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. For fun, theatergoers are asked to dress up and get into the red-carpet mood on premiere night. Learn more at

CSU, Chico Department of Theater Arts
Throughout the academic year, the department presents plays in two spaces (the Harlen Adams Theatre and the intimate Wismer Theatre) inside the Performing Arts Center on campus. It also produces an annual musical production in Laxson Auditorium every spring. Call University Public Events at 898-5917 or University Box Office at 898-6333 for listings.

Ensemble Theatre of Chico
1531 Sheridan Ave., 680-1002.
ETC spends most of the year hibernating, emerging every summer for its annual Shakespeare in the Park festival. For years, the productions have been put on in the Cedar Grove area of Bidwell Park, but the plan this year will take the performances to the heart of downtown in the City Plaza. Learn more at

Theatre on the Ridge (Paradise)
3735 Neal Rd., Paradise, 877-5760.
The oldest community theater in the area, TOTR puts on an eclectic schedule of plays from contemporary to classic. Visit for information.