This year at monca: from ‘nightclub atmosphere’ to young, hidden voices


Bars can be boring, however drinking isn’t to blame. The dealbreakers are the bartenders who  don’t consider my napkin doodles to be works of art. 

Instead, Chico’s Museum of Northern California Art gets the privilege to host a fun night for doodle artists at “Cocktails and Napkin Art” on Sept. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Don’t waste your talent at a bar this Friday.

The evening will feature a no-host bar and music by guitarist Lester Wong. The night will end with finished napkin art on display. Other appreciators will gather around in awe of these quirky creations that  get overlooked in bars and restaurants. 

The evening is part of the “3rd Fridays@monca” events, where the third Friday of every month features a new theme. Chico State students get free admission. Non-student admissions cost $5. 

“We’re going to create a nightclub atmosphere as much as we can,” MONCA Executive Director Pat Macias said. 

 “They’re free to just create and draw and see what they come up with,” Macias said, crediting masterpieces to the creative process of small ideas like sketches and doodles. 

Having conceived this idea some time ago, Macias is looking forward to opening a space for creatives and including a non-alcoholic drink option. 

Photo taken by Shae Pastrana. The front lobby in Museum of Northern California Art.

As third Friday events continue, MONCA looks forward to sharing more activities with Chico, along with their changing exhibitions. Last month’s third Friday event was Urban Sketches. October’s event will be a workshop for making masks and altars. 

On Nov. 19, tutoring coordinator Josh Indar of Butte County Office of Education will reveal a book entitled “Writing for Donuts.” The book is a collection of poems by runaway and homeless youth from Indar’s work as a tutor, notably at the 6th Street Drop-in Center in Chico.

“I’m trying to help some of the homeless youth I worked with let their voices be heard,” Indar said with regard to harmful stereotyping and misunderstanding of homelessness. “I just think that there’s a lot of misunderstanding with the homeless population in general, particularly the homeless youth.”

Indar’s book aims to reveal how the formative years of adolescence can be exacerbated by homelessness, often making homeless youth invisible. 

“As a society, we can’t let them slip through the cracks,” Indar said. 

Photo by Shae Pastrana. “Writing for Donuts.”

College success builds on the younger years of students. Indar pointed out that if high school was tough, then college would also be tough. 

“A lot of students aren’t going to understand what they’ve been through,” Indar said about college students who have experienced homelessness beforehand.

MONCA works as a hub for artists, community discourse and student interests, as their events this year fulfill these purposes. Their last third Friday event in December will be a wine-tasting event with wine from award-winning New Clairvaux Vineyard, a Trappist-Cistercian monastery in Vina.

MONCA is always looking for volunteers and encourages students to inquire within for details. 

Shae Pastrana can be reached at [email protected] or @Pineyfolk on Twitter.