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A GATHERING PLACE FOR ARTISTS AND IDEAS

Chico Art Center Annual Report

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2020 - The Year in Review

Chico Art Center is a 501(c)3 public benefit non-profit, established in 1956.

Mission Statement: Our mission is to actively support local and regional artists, artistic activity and continuing placement of visual art in the community, thereby enriching the quality of life for community members of all ages.

The Chico Art Center strives to support and enhance art appreciation and provide the highest quality visual arts education; to encourage and advance excellence in the visual arts; and to provide artistic and cultural opportunities that celebrate our richly creative and diverse community.

Chico Art Center is located in the historic 1892 Southern Pacific Railroad Depot which includes a gallery, a gift shop, 2 classrooms and additional space in the 1947 Pullman Rail Car on the grounds.

Board of Directors and Committee Chairs:
President 
Lisa Freeman-Wood     
Vice President  Daniel Donnelly          
Secretary  Nancy Beliveau
Treasurer  Jana Lawton

Members at Large
Carolyn Arredondo
Nicolai Larsen
Jason Tannen
Honorary Board Member  Sadie Card
Business Manager  Debra Simpson
Gallery Director  Cameron Kelly
Gift Shop  Victoria Davila
Volunteer Coordinator  Erin Wells

Activities and Events

Chico Art Center typically has 12 Exhibitions a year offering a variety of art to the community.  These include a Member Showcase, several juried exhibitions, a National Juried Exhibition, a Discovery Series Exhibition, an exhibition featuring local Jr High and High School student art, community participation exhibits such as Small Works, Dia de los Muertos Art and Altar Exhibition, and a winter gift boutique.

Each exhibit typically opens with a reception which includes complementary food and beverages.  Attendance is between 100 and 200 people on average.

Open Studios Art Tour (OSAT)

OSAT is Chico Art Center’s annual fundraiser.  It is usually the last two weekends in October when local artists open their studios to the public.  This includes an Opening Reception to a month-long Gallery Exhibit. This community event involves the many local businesses as advertisers, community members who purchase tickets and receive a Tour Guide booklet and map- to visit studios, talk artists, see demonstrations and purchase local art.

Art Education

A variety of classes are offered quarterly. Special workshops, and ongoing groups sessions focused on specific mediums were also taking place at the Center. Classes offered are taught by professional artists and included a variety of mediums for both children and adults at different skill levels.

There is a Children’s Scholarship Fund for art classes and children could receive free entry to an art class of their choice.

Communication and Outreach

Outreach usually includes Butte County Art on Wheels, serving school children in Butte County, Art in the Plaza, free for children during the downtown summer concerts, and Stansbury House Ice Cream Social, supporting a local historical non-profit with art activities for all ages.

A newsletter was produced monthly to communicate with members and friends of the Art Center via email with links to other Northern California events and Calls for Art.

Website and Facebook site are kept up to date and eblasts are sent on an average once a week with current information. 

Grants

BLAST-Art (Best Life After School Team- Art) with Cameron Kelly - California Arts Council (January – May).

2020  With the arrival of COVID-19 and Butte County COVID Guidelines, we focused on adapting in many new ways to continue to provide an avenue for members and artists in the community to show their art and for the general public to view that art.

The January Member Showcase was in the gallery.

After the death of Sal Casa in December 2019, a beloved longtime member and art educator at the Center, we decided to change the planned February exhibition to a Memorial Celebration of Sal Casa and his art. Sal, an artist, beloved longtime member and art instructor at Chico Art Center passed away in December 2019.The exhibition in the gallery was a retrospective of his long career in art on loan from community members and family. Family members were invited to the reception. Attendees shared memories of Sal, personal and as an instructor. There was a sale of some of his artwork and prints held in the Railcar.

Furlandia was the Exhibition for March. Ana Nelson and Phil Dynan, artists recognizing longtime members and dedicated animal rescuers, rehabilitating over 400 animals in our region. Featured were zany portraits of animals they support, cutouts for picture taking, and 3D pop-out painted sculptures. Sales of artwork, cards and prints went to support the animals.

Chico Art Center was closed to the public mid-March due to California COVID 19 Guidelines.  The Furlandia Exhibit was put on the CAC website.

May featured Windows Into the World: An International Art Response to Quarantine. This open call, virtual exhibition featured personal perspectives during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic; literal views from one's window, interpretive responses of emotional life, or aspirational views were welcome. Each image is accompanied by a short reflective statement about the creator's experience. 80 artists’ works were featured.

With the required closure of museums and galleries still in force, the Small Works exhibition scheduled for August was posted on the CAC website.

June had student work from Bidwell Junior High BLAST ART After School Program posted in the windows of the railcar for public viewing from outdoors.

Flora: The Other Endangered Species, a juried exhibit was posted on the CAC website in September. Exploring further options offered by being online, the exhibition included a free Zoom Reception.  During the hour-long event, the 2 jurors, Adrienne Leigh Edwards and Joni Bosque shared comments on the 3 artworks that won $200 awards each. The artists also shared thoughts on their artwork. This exhibit was sponsored by Tony and Ann Slocum.

Open Studios Art Tour (OSAT) has been the focus in October for 31 years.  It was a tradition and the main annual fundraiser, so some form of it was important to continue. A hybrid version was created, Open Studios Art Tour, Virtual Tour + Studio Visits. A dedicated website was built to feature 50+ participating artists, each having their own editable page to showcase their art, handle their own sales and offer individual appointments for tours of their studios if the artists chose to open their studios to the public - ChicoOSAT.com.

The Tour Guide was published and sold at several businesses in downtown Chico. People were also able to purchase an Access Code by credit card directly at ChicoOSAT.com. This website went live October 1 and will continue until July 31, 2021 when the next year’s application fee will be due for another year.

The advantages to having the website live for so many months is that artists can continue to join, artists can add new artwork to their page, put some pieces for sale for the holidays, take down sold work, or have themes that can be created.

A free Zoom Reception moderated by Cameron Kelly, with presentations by four OSAT artists demonstrate aspects of their creative process in “breakout rooms”. Most attendees commented that it was interesting to be able to watch the artists at work and to be able to ask questions as if you were there in the artists’ studios.

An additional Zoom event was held in conjunction with a monthly meeting of members of American Association of University Women (AAUW). Cameron Kelly and Jana Lawton co hosted the free event. Each of the four artists introduced themselves, gave an overview of their artwork, thoughts and processes with all of the attendees.

This entire change to a new format required extensive planning, and a lot of work to create the ChicoOSAT.com website and subsequent Zoom events. The OSAT Team will continue to meet and plan for long term promotion as the OSAT website will remain live until July 31,2021.

The Center was closed between March and November 2020. With Butte County in the less restrictive Red Tier, it was opened November 7th with the Art of Remembrance, and Ofrenda or altar in the Gallery. It was closed on November 16th.  The Art of Remembrance Exhibition was also archived on the CAC website until mid-December.

Due to the COVID-19 State of California and Butte County Guidelines, closure of Chico Art Center lasted for most of the year. As a result, classes, workshops, rental groups were cancelled, and the Gift Shop was also closed.

Newsletters continued to be sent out by email monthly.

Monthly Board Meetings were held by Zoom.

Respectfully submitted by Lisa Freeman-Wood, President of Chico Art Center

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