|Artoberfest Kick-Off Features Chico Palio!|
CHICO, CA What does Siena, Italy, have in common with Chico? The truth is, not much. But the first annual Chico Palio, modeled after Italy's famous Siena Palio horse race, is about to change all of that.
Pending city permits, the Chico Palio race will be run around the downtown area, near the Downtown Plaza in Chico on Saturday, Sept. 30, thanks mostly to a grant from the California Arts Council, in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts.
Chico Palio will be the official kick-off for the city-sponsored ARTOBERFEST, a festival initiated by the Chico Arts Commission, which highlights visual arts, dance, music, literature, film & video, & theatre. It was launched in 2005 with a $10,000 arts commission grant and leveraged into nearly
$70,000. This year, the City is investing $50,000. Friends of the Arts, a state/local partner with the California Arts Council, is the organizer of ARTOBERFEST, along with LearningChange. According to Executive Director Debra Lucero, Friends applied for the Chico Palio grant under the CAC's Creating Public Value Through the Arts program.
The maximum award amount was $10,000 and the grant was available only to State/Local partners. Twelve such organizations in the state received grants of various amounts through this new program. "CAC's strategic plan to create programs, pubic awareness and advocacy for the arts lines up beautifully with the mission of Friends", said Lucero who has been advocating for the arts for the nearly six years in Butte County.
"We desire national attention with this event and will add a juried competition next year as well as a plein-air painting competition on horse ranches throughout the area. We even want to have an actual horse parade for people to show off their equestrian skills and beautiful animals."
Lucero said that building on Chico's No. 10 Arts Town designation makes sense. To that end, local non-profits and art performance presenters will be invited kick-off day to talk about what's on tap in October. The Chico Palio event literally touches on each of the state's arts goals, Lucero said, involving neighborhoods, public school fine art specialists, creating access to art for individuals, families and neighborhoods, as well as encouraging economic and community development through the festival concept. Friends of the Arts was looking for creative, self-sustaining ways to engage the public, enlist business support and build alliances with local non-profits to create higher awareness, participation, economic opportunity and expression through the arts.
"We want our citizens to become consumers of our arts, cultural activities, museums, performances and festivals. Chico Palio presents a crossover arts event that reaches out to ranch folks, horse enthusiasts, farmers, and others in nearby towns (Durham, Butte Valley, Red Bluff, Orland, Willows). We want residents to break bread, make horse art, watch a crazy race and generally enjoy what an arts concept in a festival atmosphere has to offer."
Actual horses won't be run, said Lucero, but real residents from 10 Chico neighborhoods will. They'll be dressed in elegant horse costume or steering horse floats on wheels. That part (how the decorated horses are powered) is still being decided. In addition to the race winner, there will be a competition for the Best Designed Horse, the Best Designed Flag (each neighborhood will be assigned an artist-in-residence to meet with and design a representative neighborhood flag); as well as a Horse-Art-in-the-Schools program during September.
The children's art will be on display in October and judged by local arts specialists. Additionally, there will be a community dinner the night before the race. Long tables will fill Fourth Street between Main and Broadway. Neighborhoods (both participants and non-participants) will be invited to attend the huge potluck (this, too, is the Italian tradition). The Chico Palio idea was the brainchild of Ed McLaughlin of Chico Velo. said Lucero. In fact, McLaughlin even named ARTOBERFEST, she said.