Inside Sacramento September 2019

By Jessica Laskey
September 2019

Flower Power

McKinley Rose Garden photo contest continues to bloom

Since Friends of East Sacramento took over the restoration and management of the McKinley Rose Garden in 2013, the nonprofit has sponsored an annual photo contest of pictures taken during the peak bloom month of May. The contest is open to the public, and attracts both amateur and professional photographers.

“We had 317 photos submitted this year from more than 100 people,” says contest judge Aniko Kiezel, who shoots for Inside Sacramento and whose work is featured in “Inside Sacramento: The Most Interesting Neighborhood Places in America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.” Kiezel says every year the quality of the photos gets better, making it difficult to select a limited number of winners.

“This year one of our volunteers, Frank Matanzo, told us that his son-in-law was a winner,” garden manager Lyn Pitts reports. “His family members were visiting and snapping photos one day and I got to meet them.”

Kiezel awarded nine honorable mentions and three top prize winners, which are published in this month’s Inside Sacramento and online at InsideSacramento.com.

RESTORATION PROJECT

Visitors to the McKinley Rose Garden may have noticed that a weed-abatement project is underway. Friends of East Sacramento has been working for six years to restore and manage the garden. “When we inherited the garden in 2013, we had a similar, and probably worse, weed situation,” FOES founder and volunteer manager Lisa Schmidt says.

“At the time we raised $12,000 from private donations and hired our landscape company to dig up the weeds and roots in the top soil, lay down landscape fabric and cover it all in mulch. And then every year we raised funds to replenish the mulch.

“It looked great until early 2018 and then it started to quickly disintegrate. The life of the fabric we installed was just five years so we got all we could out of it. We removed it all using volunteers in late 2018.”

With the winter rains the past two years the weed growth has been far greater than during the drought. “This spring the weeds went wild on us!” Schmidt says.

“We have a two-part strategy to cope with the situation,” co-founder Cecily Hastings adds. “On a temporary basis, our hard-working volunteers are using weed whackers to cut down the tall Bermuda grass. Our goal is to get it looking better before the next wedding.”

As a more permanent solution, FOES has selected the same contractor to repeat what it did in 2013 with fabric and mulch. “The quotes are coming in around $20,000 and more,” Hastings says. “We are trying to raise private funds for this but it is a huge amount.”

“We just ask our neighbors and visitors to be patient as we work through this serious challenge,” Schmidt says. “And, of course, we could always use more volunteers!”

To donate to FOES for this effort, email friendsofeastsac@aol.com or visit mckinleyparkcenter.com.

HONORING BELOVED BALLET COUPLE

The next time you’re Downtown, stop by Capital Athletic Club and check out the wall along P Street for a brand-new mural installed last month during Wide Open Walls.

The mural by Stephanie Taylor depicts two of Sacramento’s most well-loved artists—former Sacramento Ballet co-artistic directors and married couple Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda. The image depicts the two having a tête-à-tête while dancers rehearse in the background.

“We developed a wonderful relationship with the Capital Athletic Club approximately 28 years ago,” says Cunningham, who’s still choreographing all over the country.

“We did an annual spring performance in their gym every year in exchange for our dancers having the ability to use the gym. Our dancers benefited and the CAC membership loved seeing our beautiful dancers gracefully working out. The annual performances always culminated with standing ovations.”

WOODLAKE HOME TOUR

The first-ever home tour of Sacramento’s Woodlake neighborhood will take place Sunday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., as part of Preservation Sacramento’s 44th Annual Historic Home Tour.

Woodlake was developed in the 1920s by North Sacramento Land Company founder Carl Johnston and is beloved for its Tudor Revival cottages and mature trees, including many heritage oaks. The neighborhood is tucked away between Highway 160 and Arden Way.

Preservation Sacramento, formerly known as the Sacramento Old City Association, is a nonprofit dedicated to protecting Sacramento’s historic places and encouraging quality urban design through advocacy, outreach and activism. Preservation Sacramento’s annual home tour is the longest running home tour in Sacramento.

Begin this year’s self-guided tour at the ticket booth in Woodlake Park at the corner of Woodlake Drive and Forrest Street. Once you’ve completed the tour, stick around and peruse the street fair of local nonprofit groups.

For tickets, visit preservationsacramento.org/hometour. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 on the day of the event.

CHURCH MONUMENT

The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation Sacramento and Annunciation Senior League recently dedicated a monument honoring the original location of the church at 620 N St.

Titled “Following in the Footsteps of Our Ancestors,” the monument is a detailed bronze replica, created and installed by renowned Sacramento artist Ronnie Frostad, of the original church.

Local architectural firm Lionakis donated design services to make the monument a reality—which is fitting, considering the firm’s founder George Sellon was the architect of the original church.

“This monument is important to our Greek community, visitors and all Sacramentans so they may learn of our Greek heritage here in Sacramento,” says ASL president Terry Kastanis.

The original Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation was one of the oldest Greek Orthodox parishes located between the San Francisco Bay Area and Salt Lake City. In 1920, about 50 Greek community leaders formed an Orthodox parish and bought the property on N Street. In 1921, the first full-time priest was assigned to the community and the first sanctuary began. The church is now located at 600 Alhambra Blvd.

BLUE STAR MUSEUMS

Seven Sacramento-area museums are participating in Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America. Free admission is available to all active-duty military personnel and their families now through Labor Day, Sept. 2.

The seven local museums participating in Blue Star Museums are the Aerospace Museum of California, California Automobile Museum, California Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town, Powerhouse Science Center and Sacramento History Museum.
The free admission program is available for those currently serving in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, as well as members of the Reserves, National Guard, U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show identification cards for entrance.

For more information, visit arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums or sacmuseums.org.

SCOOTER SAFETY

At the beginning of summer, Uber doubled the number of JUMP electric bikes and scooters on the streets, and new companies Bird, Lime and Spin have applied for scooter permits. As many as 2,000 shared scooters and bikes were expected to be deployed as of July.

“The city continues to be excited about the additional transportation options, but we want to ensure that all scooter riders know safety tips and follow traffic laws,” transportation planning manager Jennifer Donlon Wyant says.

In partnership with the Sacramento Police Department, the city will launch a public education effort to remind users that scooters are prohibited on sidewalks and must be parked at a bike rack or drop zone. Drop zones are located at City Hall, 20th Street and Capitol Avenue, R and 29th streets, 35th Street and Broadway, with more coming soon.

For more information, visit sacramentocityexpress.com.

THEATER ARTS GRANT

The California Arts Council has awarded a $16,200 grant to Sacramento Theatre Company, one of 244 grantees for this year’s Youth Arts Action program.

Youth Arts Action supports projects for youth, from infancy through age 24, that operate outside of school time in artistic venues and community settings, as well as on school sites.

STC will use the grant funds to provide a free afterschool theater program to students at Martin Luther King Jr. and William Land elementary schools, each culminating in a production.

“Theater encompasses all the arts modalities,” Michele Hillen-Noufer, STC education and school of the arts director, says. “Through this grant, students participating in STC’s School Partnership Program will have exposure to all those art forms.”

For more information, visit arts.ca.gov or sactheatre.org.

NEW AUTO MUSEUM DIRECTOR

The California Automobile Museum has hired Mark Steigerwald as its new executive director.

Previously a member of Cornell University’s Alumni Affairs and Development team, Steigerwald is also past director of the International Motor Racing Research Center in New York.

“I’m thrilled to accept this role with the museum at a stage of significant growth,” Steigerwald says. “With a dedicated board of directors, talented staff and passionate volunteers, the museum is poised for prominence as a destination for automotive enthusiasts in the greater Sacramento area and beyond.”

Located Downtown on Front Street, the privately funded, nonprofit automobile museum opened in May 1987 as the Towe Auto Museum (the name changed to California Automobile Museum in 2009). The museum collection boasts 130 cars on regular display, as well as a rotating monthly exhibit of autos from local car clubs. For more information, visit calautomuseum.org.

POSITIVE NOTE FOR SAC BALLET

When the Dance Data Project released its annual report about gender representation in choreography presented by the nation’s top 50 ballet companies, the Sacramento Ballet received special notice. Sac Ballet was cited as one of five companies with the most works by women in both the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons.

“Our research shows often the most noteworthy and inclusive work is staged by smaller, regional companies,” DDP director of research Isabelle Vail says. “This should incite critics to travel outside of the big cities and report on regional programming.”

The report mentions the Sac Ballet as a “positive example” for commissioning the only full-length, main-stage, world premiere by a woman in the 2018-2019 season (artistic director Amy Seiwert’s reimagining of “The Nutcracker”).

“While our research shows only 19 percent of works will be choreographed by women this season, there are reasons to be hopeful,” DDP founder and president Liza Yntema says. “It can be done, and we need to see more opportunities like this for women in the ballet.”

For more information, visit dancedataproject.com.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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