Why Chico is an art town

Member of the Chico Arts Commission

October has been designated as National Arts & Humanities Month, and the city of Chico’s Arts Commission is celebrating. It is a great time to update the community on what is happening culturally in Chico, and the commission is involved in a great deal of it.

On Oct. 1, at the Chico City Council meeting, Mayor Dan Herbert presented the annual Mayor’s Award for Achievement in the Arts. This award was initiated in memory of the late Joe Kaveney, and recipients are chosen by the Arts Commission. This year, we honor Rudy Giscombe for his photographic work in The Faces of Chapman, Chico Performances Field Trip Series and the Sierra Nevada Brewery for including extensive artwork in its facility.

Speaking of awards, we must mention that our two local high schools have recently been recognized for their outstanding art departments. Both Chico and Pleasant Valley high schools have been awarded 2002 Exemplary Program Awards by the California Art Educators Association. Congratulations to both schools!

Each October, throughout downtown Chico, the Arts Commission sponsors a Window Art Project. This year 40 local businesses and artists working in various media are paired to create lively window displays. Look for a complete list of these businesses and artists in each window—and enjoy a perfect family art stroll in downtown Chico!

Big news from the Art Department at Chico State University: It has been approved by the chancellor to begin offering the prestigious master in fine arts degree starting this fall.

Also of note is the recent reinstatement of Butte County in the California Arts Council State/Local Partnership Program. This was accomplished through Friends of the Arts, under the leadership of Debra Austin.

Now for a sampling of art events scheduled in Chico this October. At CSUC there are many exciting theatrical and musical events this month, starting with the Chico World Music Festival, which will include several free daytime performances on the Kendall Hall lawn. Other events are the Homecoming Concert, featuring outstanding CSUC students in music and theater, and The New Moon (a 1928 Hammerstein-Romberg operetta), both presented by School of the Arts. They will be followed by Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Lula Washington at Laxson Auditorium.

Appropriate for the season: The Blue Room’s production of Dracula and Chico Cabaret Theater’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. A completely different theater experience (adult fare) will be the university’s intensely dramatic The Laramie Project.

Art galleries and cafés are vital to Chico’s lively art scene, so make sure to check this month’s CN&R calendar for details regarding the exhibits and events, including the Chico Open Board Art (COBA) auction, the reception for Jerril Dean Kopp’s art show at the Chico Municipal Building, and the mask exhibit and auction at the University Art Gallery.

It’s easy to see why Chico is featured in the upcoming fourth edition of the book 100 Best Small Art Towns in America, by John Villani. So come out this month and celebrate with us. You’ll be glad you did!