A “Big Year” for Yuba Sutter Arts


In the world of serious birders, a “big year” is an informal competition to see who can identify the most bird species by sight or sound in a single calendar year in a given geographic region. In artistic terms, I believe that Yuba Sutter Arts has experienced the equivalent of a really “big year” by virtue of the vast array of programs, events, exhibitions, festivals and presentations we “identified” as important and then provided for the community in 2018. And there’s a lot more to come in the New Year.

In planning for our arts year, we start by laying in the basics, the foundational elements, the ongoing programs, cornerstones and other essentials for the year to come. This begins in the fall and continues right through the holidays. We survey the funding landscape, meet with our Board in a retreat setting, talk about what worked and what didn’t and throw it all into a big pot to simmer.

We know we’ll continue hosting the Women’s Creative Circle and Shakespeare Readers Theater and sponsoring Press Play Lectures. We will continue the Very Special Arts festival in Yuba County and expand it to Sutter County students.

We have our ongoing annual events like our Day of the Dead festival, Harvest the Arts and the beloved Applause series of musical performances. We will continue to display the work of local artists and host monthly receptions in our home gallery in Marysville while providing exhibition opportunities to artists at our network of eight satellite galleries as part of our “Art Everywhere” program. Our theater will again be “alive with the sound of music” as we present musical acts ranging from Flamenco guitar to blues harmonica to free style jazz to folk and indie rock and piano jazz and everything in between.

During 2017, we kicked off some great new projects and programs like our singer/songwriter concert series under the creative direction of Tom and Gay Galvin. We created public art works including the ongoing Murals of Live Oak and Cover It! Utility Box Mini Murals – you know, like the cow at Butte House Road and Stabler and the proud rooster on Franklin near 99 and the Poppies and Bike in the Buttes in Marysville. “Umbrella Sky”, the 100-strong umbrella canopy in the courtyard at Yuba Sutter Arts, will return next summer.

We reinstated the Yuba Sutter Youth Choir with both summer and fall sessions. We expanded our Arts in Education programs with High School Theater workshops and by placing arts educators in rural school districts. We hosted student and faculty art shows for high schools as well as Yuba College. We are now the northern California regional affiliate for the national Scholastic Writing Awards program, and we continue to host our regional Poetry Out Loud competition at which more than 60 high school students participated in 2017.

Our Portraits of Veterans project involved photographing over 300 Veterans throughout the community, and we then displayed the 20×30 black and white photos in various public places leading up to and following Veterans Day. We held “Art Walks” in Yuba City and Marysville with artists and their work pre-positioned in businesses along Plumas Street and D Street so that guests could stroll, mingle and enjoy art talk along with refreshments at each location.

We began the year by placing artist/facilitators in Yuba-Sutter Juvenile Hall as part of a recidivism reduction grant and then later in the year funded artists in both the Sutter and Yuba County prisons teaching adult inmates some basic art skills. This was all part of an Art in Corrections pilot program in select counties statewide.

We added other new events like Art, Wine & Wickets, Art & Oysters and Jazz at Justins all while remodeling our offices and art gallery. We continue to be active members of the Arts Consortia collective of all local arts organizations, and we added a new digital marquis sign right on E Street in front of our facility announcing local arts events in bright LED lights for all to see.

Then we ask ourselves questions like “what’s new?” ”What’s needed?” “What are we missing?” “What’s never been done before?” “What worked in the past, but hasn’t been done for years?” “What does the community want or expect from us?” “What segments of the community have we not reached or attempted to reach?” You know, how do we “boldly go” where we’ve never gone before and what are our long-term goals? Public input is always welcomed and encouraged.

Here’s a glimpse at a few of our 2018 projects in progress. We’re looking for studio and gallery space in Yuba City to set up a Festival Arts workshop and showcase. We’ll start a literary journal for local middle and high school students and publish some hard copies and an online edition. We’d like to provide an “arts for tots” program for 2-5 year olds in Yuba County. And, of course there will be the continuum of Public Art, Veterans’ art projects, Arts in Education and on and on.

For regular updates, please follow us on Facebook or keep an eye on our community arts calendar at yubasutterarts.org for all of our local arts events. You can also subscribe to our monthly email newsletter at our website.

Thanks for your support and Happy New Year!