Butte County Art teachers participate in virtual art exhibit at the monca


Sophia Pearson

The Monca entrance faces Chico High School on the opposite side of Esplanade

On Sept. 17, the Museum of Northern California Art (monca) hosted a virtual art exhibition. Featured artists are all teachers from Butte County who have contributed to the monca’s exhibit.

When Penni Baxter, a retired Butte County art teacher, thought of the idea that would later become the “Those Who Teach…Can” exhibit, she knew that she wanted to show off the talents of other art teachers in the area.

“I always found that surprising when people didn’t know we were working artists,” Baxter said.

The exhibit helps share the talents of the local teachers whose work may go unnoticed. During these times of social distancing and online learning when people may be feeling isolated, this exhibit provides the community with something they can really enjoy.

Pat Macias, executive director of the monca, was intrigued with the idea of the exhibit.

“We were approached by somebody who said ‘let’s do something about art teachers, people in the system who never get a chance to really show what they do, (teachers) that teach all the time but they don’t really have that opportunity to show their own work,” said Macias.

The exhibit was originally thought to be a place where teachers could bring students on field trips but due to COVID-19 regulations the monca has no choice but to share their exhibit virtually.

“It’s really sad that currently we can’t have a great big opening but I think it’ll be really important for our community to see the abilities and efforts of the teachers in our community,” Baxter said.

The exhibit features photography, painting, sculptures, mixed media, and glass staining work by 32 Butte County teachers. 

Baxter, a former Chico High School arts teacher, had three pieces of artwork on display at the exhibit. Baxter uses dye sublimation printing which she prints onto glass. Through this process, her art achieves a beautiful combination of photography and dye. 

Kandis Horton-Jorth, another retired art teacher, also had art featured in the exhibit. Horton-Jorth used mixed media including photography and acrylic washes which creates a layered collage. 

Another artist, Rita Rickmers had three acrylic paintings on display. Rickmers spent 27 years at Pleasant Valley High School before retiring. Rickmers finds joy in documenting her travels —the inspiration for some of her art. 

“I love to travel,” said Rickmers. “I always photograph when I travel. These two are from Yucatan, Mexico. I was fascinated by the layers of paint and the decay and beauty because of all the layers. I just like the idea of a door as a metaphor for so many things.”

  • Three of the artists featured in the exhibit pose with the Monca’s executive director, Pat Macias. [pictured left to right: Kandis Horton-Jorth, Pat Macias, Reta Rickmers, Penni Baxter.]
  • Reta Rickmers posing along side per acrylic paintings inspired by photos she took while in Yucatan, Mexico
  • Penni Baxter stands with her work in the exhibit
  • Kandis Horton-Jorth poses alongside her three pieces that will be available to view during the exhibit

With the combination of different mediums and areas of expertise among the artists, the exhibit offers a great amount of work that will be available through virtual tours. 

Although the monca is excited to share creators’ art on a virtual platform, it is far from ideal. As Rickmers expressed frustration for hanging each piece and being unsure if people would still view it.  

“I wish people could get in here to see it,” said Rickmers, “It’s maddening.” 

The exhibition will be available Sep. 17. to Nov. 1. To access the virtual tour, visit the monca’s website here

Sophia Pearson can be reached at [email protected] or @sophia__pearson on Twitter.