Chico Art Festival makes comeback for Mother’s Day weekend

The Chico Visual Art Alliance (ChiVAA) has announced the return of its annual Chico Art Festival. Formerly known as Art at the Matador, the event will showcase local artistic exhibitions and promote community art initiatives.

The 2022 Chico Art Festival will mark its first return since 2018. ChiVAA was unable to organize events from 2019 through 2021 due to disruptions from the Camp Fire and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The festival will be held Friday, May 6 from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, May 7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Live music, dances and art exhibitions will be featured throughout both days of the event. Nearly 50 artists will have a designated space to sell and display their work.

“There are so many local artists who have no space to be seen by the public and this gives them an opportunity to showcase their talent,” ChiVAA President Cynthia Sexton said.

The Friday festival will open with an evening gala and feature two live music acts. Acoustic rock trio The Wrecktangles and the jazz group Swing Set will each play two-hour sets during the gala ceremony. 

“The main feature of the Gala Opening is that visitors will have the best pick of art from exhibitors,” ChiVAA member Dolores Mitchell said. “It will also be a lovely way to spend a Friday evening with live music, art activities for kids, the printing of t-shirts, a food truck and a margarita bar.”

Saturday will feature many of the same attractions with more live music throughout the day. Community sponsors will offer activities at their stationtioned booths, such as face painting with Chico Community Ballet

In previous years, the festival was held at the historic Matador Motel, but will now be held at St. John’s Espicopal Church on Floral Avenue. ChiVAA made the decision to move the festival after many Camp Fire victims permanently moved into the Matador. 

St. John’s park-like grounds will allow for more artists to participate and features attractions such as a labyrinth. In order to follow COVID guidelines, the festival will be held entirely outdoors. 

“We’ve been locked down for so long. It’s going to be a joyous celebration of being out and alive and seeing great art,” Sexton said.

The Chico Art Festival is free for people of all ages. More information regarding the event can be found on the ChiVAA website.

Michaela Harris can be reached at [email protected] or @MichaelaRH21 on Twitter.