Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Third Street Gallery Begins a Long Goodbye

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 8:53 AM

A shot of the crowd at the opening of Keith Schneider's show at HSU's Third Street Gallery on Saturday night. - FROM HSU THIRD STREET GALLERY'S INSTAGRAM
  • From HSU Third Street Gallery's Instagram
  • A shot of the crowd at the opening of Keith Schneider's show at HSU's Third Street Gallery on Saturday night.

In a press release sent out yesterday evening, Humboldt State University announced the planned closure of its Third Street Gallery in Old Town. The budget-cutting measure had been hanging over the gallery for months since it appeared in a proposal with other potential cutbacks in January. The release, which touts the gallery's accomplishments in boosting community engagement, calls the move "difficult but necessary given current budget constraints," referring to the university's "$9 million budget shortfall over the next two years."

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

TL;DR: Arts in Corrections at Pelican Bay

Posted By on Sun, Jan 7, 2018 at 10:32 AM

  • Mark McKenna
Crazy week? No time to read our long form cover story about the arts program at Pelican Bay State Prison? No problem, we got you covered. Here are five things we learned from our visit. And you can always check out the full cover story right here.

1. Several Humboldt residents and programs bring classes to prisoners in both general population and solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison as part of the state's Arts in Corrections Programs. Those classes include theater, guitar and drawing. We shadowed Cecelia Holland, a Fortuna author who teaches creative writing. Holland originally got involved with the program during the 1990s but had to stop when the program ended in 2003.

2. There were no arts classes for solitary confinement inmates prior to 2014. Better programming for prisoners in the Secure Housing Unit (known as the SHU) was one of the demands of a hunger strike staged in 2011, along to an end to indefinite confinement. Now those inmates have access to many different programs, including one on entrepreneurship and another with peer-led counseling. Holland says she enjoys working with her SHU students, who are among the most creative and hard-working writers she teaches.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Synapsis Studio's Future up in the Air

Posted By on Sat, Sep 23, 2017 at 4:05 PM

An aerialist performing at the soon-to-be-vacated Synapsis Studio. - COURTESY OF LESLIE CASTELLANO
  • Courtesy of Leslie Castellano
  • An aerialist performing at the soon-to-be-vacated Synapsis Studio.

A couple of weeks ago, Synapsis Performance Collective, a group of artists, dancers and performers that has been renting a space at 47 W. Third St. in Eureka for the past 13 years, learned that in six weeks, its rent would be doubling from $1,065 to $2,200 per month as of Oct. 1. It's a substantial hike but maybe not out of nowhere when you consider the original rent was established between 2004 and 2006. As the letter from Synapsis' landlord Gross Family LLC states, "now it's time for this property to yield market rate for the family." That's a market rate that's gone up of late, given that the property is located in "extraction alley," but whether it's a case of cannabis gentrification is unclear.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Poor Reggae on the River Attendance Leaves Mateel Community Center's Future in Question

Posted By on Sat, Sep 2, 2017 at 9:33 AM

This year's Reggae on the River. - FILE
  • File
  • This year's Reggae on the River.
Redway’s Mateel Community Center is in a state of crisis after its biggest annual fundraiser, Reggae on the River, not only failed to meet revenue projections but left the center with a “significant” debt.

“Very challenging times lie ahead, there are difficult decisions to make, and the future of both ROTR and the MCC is at stake,” Mateel General Manager Justin Crellin wrote in a letter to to the Southern Humboldt community, inviting it to a Sept. 19 meeting when he will share further detail of the Mateel’s financial state and what options are being considered.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Paint the Utility Box You Want to See in the World

Posted By on Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 2:18 PM

One of San Luis Obispo's gussied up utility boxes. - SLOCITY.ORG
  • One of San Luis Obispo's gussied up utility boxes.
Before you tag that utility box for free, consider getting paid $500 by the city of Eureka to do a mini-mural. A new program called Eureka Box Art! (somebody loves those exclamation points) will pay individual artists or groups to paint boxes of varying sizes around town to both beautify the mundane blocks of metal and deter graffiti. In the press release, Economic Development Project Manager Alanna Powell states that the public art is meant to "give a sense of place and delightful surprise to citizens and visitors alike." So this might not be the time for your Boschian depiction of the ravages of our times. On second thought, give it a shot. Nobody gets riled up over murals, right?

San Luis Obispo has a similar program that's left the city a little more colorful. "They have been really great partners for us," says Powell, whose team has gotten quite a bit of advice on making the process run smoothly. For a look at how the boxes turned out in SLO, check out this video from the city's website.

Don't just start painting — that's still illegal until your application (with your proposed design and samples of previous work) is approved by an arts and culture commission. Even those with a sponsor — say, a business willing to shell out the $500 — will need design approval for a permit to paint. You've got until Aug. 18 to apply. Inquiries are already flowing in and staff members are reaching out to some local artists as well. Peruse the specs below and email or call 441-4160 to learn more.

From the city of Eureka:

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Contest Countdown!

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 11:57 AM

Hey, Shutterbugs, time is running out!

The deadline to enter the Journal’s 2017 reader photo contest is fast approaching. So, between now and midnight on June 19, grab your camera and document your community, whatever that means to you — your people, your neighborhood, your city, your ecosystem, your culture — and send us your photos. (Read more about it in the original post here).

The winning photo will be featured in an upcoming edition of the Journal, with the winning photographer getting dinner out on us, a bottle of wine and a little something for dessert. Photos should be taken during the contest period — between May 10 and June 19 — and submitted without Photoshop or filters; we need the real deal. Entries can be emailed to, and we encourage folks to enter as many times as they’d like.

For a look at last year’s contest — “Winter in Humboldt” — click here.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Dinsmore Homesteader's Artwork Featured at deYoung

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 10:59 AM

Museum-quality trippy '60s art. - DOTTIE SIMMONS
  • Dottie Simmons
  • Museum-quality trippy '60s art.
From Haight Street to a Humboldt County homestead: It's a familiar story for many back-to-the-landers who arrived in our region in the late ’60s and early ’70s, fresh from the 1967 Summer of Love. Dottie Simmons, who settled down in Humboldt County in 1968, made her homestead near Dinsmore, raising kids, canning preserves and starting a successful small business. But this year a small piece of her former life came back to prominence. A poster illustrated by Simmons in 1968, for a four-day show at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom, is being featured at the deYoung Museum as part of its Summer of Love exhibit, which runs through August 20.

Simmons, who recently attended the exhibit’s opening, said she was honored to be part of the show. Simmons drew the poster, which features an Alice in Wonderland figures and a frame of bright flowers, in one night using pen and ink. It was so long ago that Simmons says she doesn’t remember exactly where she did it, only that she worked on someone’s floor.

The show itself featured Iron Butterfly (“In-A-Gadda-De-Vida”) and a trio of other psychedelic rock bands. Simmons, then a teenager, said she was a “puppy” at the Avalon, a short-lived music venue in San Francisco’s Polk Gulch that managed to cram most of the era’s headliners onto its stage between 1966 and 1969, including The Doors, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. (The Dead played there 29 times). Against this backdrop, Simmons ran messages, cleaned up after shows and worked the coat check.

“That era, poster included, pops into my consciousness now and then,” she told the Journal. “Usually when I’m reminiscing with friends or going through my art stuff.”

If you want to reminisce yourself, or get an idea of what turned Simmons’ generation on 50 years ago, more information about The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll, can be found on the deYoung’s website.

Simmons, a master preserver, was a staff pick for "Best of Humboldt" in 2016. - FILE
  • FILE
  • Simmons, a master preserver, was a staff pick for "Best of Humboldt" in 2016.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

T-shirts, Get Your T-shirts!

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2017 at 3:23 PM


Did the Eureka Women’s March leave you feeling empowered? Want to hold onto that feeling and commemorate it? Want to support a local artist and a good cause at the same time? If so, you’re in luck.

In the wake of the march that organizers billed as the largest in Eureka’s history — with some estimating as many as 8,000 people in the streets Jan. 21 — Journal cartoonist Terry Torgerson penned a drawing of the Carson Mansion festooned with a pink “pussy ears” hat emanating rays of light. The cartoon has been so popular that we here at the Journal thought some might want one of their own. So we’ve reached out to a local T-shirt maker and mocked up the above design.

We’re going to be selling the shirts for $15 — a $6 markup from the cost of making them, some of which will go to Torgerson, as artists need all the help they can get these days, and the rest goes to the North Coast Rape Crisis Team, which offers comprehensive services — including prevention education, outreach and a 24-hour hotline (445-2881) — to victims of sexualized violence, because, you know, regardless of politics, that should be a cause and a service we can all stand behind.

If you’d like to get your hands on one of these shirts, it’s easy. Just call Sarah at 442-1400, extension 312, before Feb. 15 and she’ll take down your order, credit card number and contact info. Or, stop by the office (310 F St. in Eureka) and ask for Sarah. Then, we’ll let you know when the shirts are ready for pickup.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Flash Fiction: No, The Title Doesn't Count

Posted By on Mon, Oct 3, 2016 at 9:37 AM

The Tooth Ferret. - JOEL MIELKE
  • Joel Mielke
  • The Tooth Ferret.
Dust off those plot twists … the North Coast Journal Flash Fiction Contest is back! Send your original story of 99 words or fewer to our judges for a chance at publication and a prize.

Email your entries to between now and 9 a.m. on Oct. 24. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number on your entry (contact info won’t be printed). Send all the stories you want, but save the poems for another competition, please.

Size up past winners here. And if you’re wondering just how long 99 words is, it’s exactly this long.

For inspirational purposes, find a few past winners copied below:

The 2015 overall winner:

By Lauri Rose, Bridgeville
A marsh is a hideaway kind of place, the kind of place you might take someone else's girlfriend for a secret kiss. Samuel didn't come for that. Samuel came to add another bird to his life list. But, sometimes a morning on the marsh can shift like mud beneath your feet and a man with binoculars might see more than he wants to see. A marsh is a hideaway kind of place, the kind of place you can toss a gun away and it will never be found.
Our fondness for the marsh aside, this one was up to something from the first sentence, then, like that shifting mud, things took a turn. Instead of a trick ending we're left with a little danger. All that with 11 words to spare. This was one of JoAnn Bauer's picks, too. She remarked, "This seemed to me like the beginning paragraph of a great detective story and I would definitely want to read it. It really stimulated my curiosity and imagination about what would happen next."

The 2014 overall winner:

By Peter Mehren, Toronto, Canada
"Let's get one thing straight," she said, as we sat chatting over coffees. "If we ever kiss, which I doubt will happen, but if we ever do, noses to the right."
I looked from her eyes to her nose and back again. "Meaning?"
"Meaning I don't want clumsy, amateurish bumping of noses and foreheads and chins. We're not beginners. If I ever decide you can kiss me, which — "
"I know: you doubt."
"Yes. It won't be a sneak attack, so don't think about doing that. No, just like deciding on which side of the road to drive: noses right."

Another 2014 favorite:

The Tooth Ferret
By Steve Brackenbury, Fortuna
They told him if he put his tooth under the pillow he would find money waiting for him in the morning.
"Dumb ferret," he muttered as he got under the covers; for you see, he had heard it all wrong. "Ferrets ain't got no pockets to keep things in and they're mean and dirty. I hate ferrets."
Midnight came. His eyes were shut but he was wide-awake. The bedroom door slowly opened. He tightened his grip on the handle of the sharp knife he had taken from the kitchen drawer. He was ready for that stupid old ferret.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Redwood Borough

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Artist's concept of the tiny Humboldt-inspired forest exhibit set to open in Brooklyn. - PUBLIC ART FUND
  • Public Art Fund
  • Artist's concept of the tiny Humboldt-inspired forest exhibit set to open in Brooklyn.
A tiny Humboldt County-inspired redwood forest is taking root in downtown Brooklyn as part of a public art project set to open on Oct. 1.

Spencer Finch’s Lost Man Creek exhibit — which replicates a 790-acre section of the Redwood National Park on a 1:100 scale with some 4,000 dawn redwood seedlings being planted by volunteers.

“Lost Man Creek reflects Finch’s fascination with activating the imagination through observation of natural phenomena,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “For many years he has explored the ineffable qualities of our ever-changing natural world through wide-ranging mediums, but this is his first use of living trees.”

The New York-based Public Art Fund reached out to the Humboldt County Visitors’ Bureau in January, which help connect the artist with the Save the Redwood League, which provided detailed topographical information for the living exhibition.

Press release from the Public Art Fund:

Public Art Fund and Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) announce Spencer Finch: Lost Man Creek, an extraordinary new exhibition at MetroTech Commons that recreates, at a 1:100 scale, a 790-acre section of the Redwood National Park in California, one of the United States’ most treasured natural wonders.

In this living artwork, Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch scales down the topography and tree canopy of his selected section, with trees that range from 98 to 380 feet becoming 1 to 4 feet in the installation. Finch’s miniature forest for Downtown Brooklyn will live in the eastern triangular lawn of MetroTech Commons, with a footprint measuring 4,500 square feet, and will feature some 4,000 young Dawn Redwoods. Visitors will be able to experience the work from a viewing platform installed on one side of the work, as well as from ground level, offering different perspectives of the work. Spencer Finch: Lost Man Creek is free to the public and on view October 1, 2016 through May 13, 2018 at MetroTech Commons, Downtown Brooklyn.

“Lost Man Creek reflects Finch’s fascination with activating the imagination through observation of natural phenomena,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “For many years he has explored the ineffable qualities of our ever-changing natural world through wide-ranging mediums, but this is his first use of living trees.”

To realize Lost Man Creek, Finch collaborated with the Save the Redwoods League, which provided details like topographical and canopy height maps of a select section of the protected, inaccessible forest. Utilizing these resources, Finch created a vision of the site at a 1:100 scale for MetroTech Commons. The miniature forest will flourish with the help of a specific planting and irrigation system, designed to provide the trees with an optimum living environment within this urban context. When the exhibition closes, these trees will be rehoused.

“We are excited to team up with Public Art Fund for our 23rd year to bring beautiful art to
MetroTech Commons,” said Ashley Cotton, Executive Vice President at FCRC. “The work of Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch will be on display for a year and a half, longer than any past installation that we have done with Public Art Fund, giving visitors an opportunity to fully engage with one of the world’s most renowned forests through the eyes of one of Brooklyn’s most highly regarded artists”.

At the core of Finch's practice is an ongoing investigation into the nature of light, color, memory, and perception. The artist is known for transforming his own observations of a particular time
or place into various media from painting, drawing, and photography to installation. Lost Man
Creek references the fleeting and the temporal elements inherent in all areas of life, with the
artist mining the observed world to create a poetic installation that speaks to a shared existence.

Among previous projects are A Certain Slant of Light (2014-15), a large-scale installation at The
Morgan Library & Museum inspired by its collection of medieval Books of Hours; Trying To
Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning (2014), composed of 2,983
individual watercolors representing the artist’s recollection of the sky on September 11, 2001;
There Is Another Sky (2014), which transformed a formerly dark alley into an urban forest
sanctuary at South Lake Union, Seattle; Painting Air (2012), an installation of more than 100
panels of suspended glass inspired by the colors of Claude Monet's garden at Giverny; and The
River That Flows Both Ways (2009), a permanent installation composed of an existing series of
windows transformed with 700 individual panes of glass representing the water conditions on
the Hudson River over 700 minutes in a single day.

“Through both a scientific approach to gathering data—including precise measurements and
record keeping—and a poetic sensibility, Finch’s works often inhabit the area between objective investigations of science and the subjectivity of lived experience,” said Associate Curator Emma Enderby, who organized the exhibition. “In a world where climate change is at the core of societal debates, Finch’s installation in the heart of one of the most urbanized neighborhoods
of the city presents us with the universal reality of nature’s power to awe and inspire, and the
importance to remember and protect such wonders.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, Spencer Finch will give a Public Art Fund Talk at
The New School on November 16 where he will focus on his various public and large-scale installations.

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