Out & About December 2020

By Jessica Laskey
December 2020

Opposites Attract

2 artists forge friendship through painting

When Carmichael painter Earl Boley passed away in December 2013, he left behind not only a colorful legacy of his own artwork, but friendships with many other local artists.

One of his most important friendships was with internationally renowned artist Jian Wang who lived and worked for many years near Boley in Carmichael.

The two artists met in 2003 when Boley was showing his art at a gallery. “Jian walked up to Earl telling him how much he liked his work. Earl asked Jian what he did and Jian said, ‘I do what you do, but I’m successful!’ Earl had a good laugh and they then became close friends,” Boley’s widow Susan Leith says.

“Jian inspired Earl to paint on different sizes of canvas, mentored him on different brands of paint and, best of all to my thinking, Jian encouraged Earl to frame and present his work more professionally,” Leith says.

“Their personalities were opposites, yet they balanced each other out beautifully,” she adds. “Earl helped Jian see life and stress differently, helping him find a sense of calm and happiness. Jian helped Earl progress in his art techniques and materials as his career grew.”

Leith says they would turn on classical music, paint quietly for several hours in the studio then take a lunch break and discus all sorts of things. Sometimes other local artists joined them.

Boley acquired many of Wang’s paintings during the 10 years they painted together at each other’s studios, often on a daily basis. Wang wrote a tribute to his friend for the memorial display of Boley’s work at the California State Fair.

Leith has since remarried and she is making plans for the thousands of oil paintings Boley left behind. She is currently working on a book of Boley’s artwork. Wang now lives and works in upstate New York.

Leith is conducting a special private sale of five original oil paintings by Wang. The entire collection is priced below market value with an additional discount for two or more paintings. For more information, contact Donald Kurasch at dkurasch@gmail.com or (312) 399-6630.


Nathaniel Colley, the first licensed Black attorney in Sacramento who fought for the desegregation of public housing, is finally being recognized for his groundbreaking contributions to the city.

The City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance placing his former Midtown office at 1810 S St. on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources. The structure was built in 1967 and designed by James C. Dodd, the first licensed Black architect in Sacramento.

Colley spent his career focusing on the fight to end segregation in housing, education, politics and the workplace. In one of his biggest victories before the Sacramento Superior Court, Colley successfully argued for forbidding segregation by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, which opened up more units for Black families at the New Helvetia (now Alder Grove) housing project and finally made it possible for African Americans to apply for and receive public housing on an equal basis with other groups.

Colley died in 1992. New Helvetia and Colley’s former home in Land Park are also set to receive historic designation.


Sacramento State University is one of only five universities in the country—and the only Cal State campus—to be honored with the 2020 Seal of Excelencia from national organization Excelencia in Education for its commitment to Latino student success in higher education.

The award was based on Sac State’s “successful demonstration of specific inclusive strategies…that show intentional serving of Latino students.” Programs include the College Assistance Migrant Program, which supports students from migrant and farmworker backgrounds; Serna Center, which focuses on political knowledge, activism and community service; Educational Opportunity Program, serving low-income students; and Dreamer Resource Center, which helps undocumented students realize their goals.

“We address the social, emotional and physical needs of our students, as well as their academic needs,” says Viridiana Diaz, associate vice president for Strategic Student Support Programs. “We have aligned many different pieces and built a sense of family and home for them.”


The Meadowview Navigation Center, which assists women experiencing homelessness, officially opened in October on Meadowview Road in South Sacramento.

The center is managed by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency in partnership with the city of Sacramento, and operated 24 hours a day by Volunteers of America. Though its innovative “sprung structures” (prefab aluminum buildings topped with all-weather tension fabric) are designed to serve 100 people, they currently house 50 to allow for proper social distancing.

Clients are admitted by referral only. For more information, visit voa-ncnn.org/meadowview.


The Eleanor Apartments at 16th and E streets and neighboring Washington Elementary School just got a whole lot brighter.
Last month, The Grupe Company and SKK Developments unveiled two complimentary murals—one on the five-story exterior of the apartment building, now Sacramento’s largest mural, and one at the entrance to the school. The project is part of an elaborate artistic partnership among the development companies, Wide Open Walls, Washington Elementary and more than a dozen muralists.

While the mural was painted by professional artists secured by Wide Open Walls, 200 Washington Elementary students were asked to create artwork based on the theme “A Journey Into Curiosity” as part of their virtual summer school curriculum. The entries were then judged by educators and artists, and the winning imagery was used in both murals.

“This is such a tremendous opportunity for our students and families,” says Dr. Gema Godina-Martinez, Washington Elementary School principal. “Midtown is our playground and this mural project will tie our students’ learning directly to our community in a meaningful way.”


Just in time for the holidays, the 2400 block of J Street has become what the Midtown Association has lovingly dubbed the “Sweet Spot on J”—four neighboring dessert shops that can satisfy any craving.

The newest addition, Ginger Elizabeth Patisserie, which opened Oct. 14 at 2413 J St., offers locally made desserts, breakfast pastries and a selection of melt-in-your-mouth chocolates. Babes Ice Cream & Donuts at 2417 J St., founded by the owners of Pushkin’s, features vegan and gluten-free ice cream and donuts, as well as plant-based milks at the espresso bar.

Icing on the Cupcake at 2416 J St. offers an array of cupcakes, brownies, pies and more. Rick’s Dessert Diner, a longtime Sacramento favorite at 2401 J St., has been voted No. 1 in desserts for 34 years.


Volunteers are needed for Mayor Steinberg’s COVID-19 initiative Great Plates Delivered, a service that delivers restaurant meals for homebound seniors.

Transportation is provided and deliveries are contactless. Deliveries take place Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Volunteers must be 18 to 64, in good health, and willing to follow safety instructions and wear personal protective masks and gloves. For more information, visit cityofsacramento.org/hr/volunteer-opportunities/short-term-opportunities.


The Sacramento Center for the Textile Arts has transformed its highly anticipated annual show and sale—Art to Wear & More—from an in-person event at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center into a virtual marketplace.

As SCTA chair Gloria Roberston puts it, “The show must go on.”

The 2020 Art to Wear & More features dozens of local artists offering an amazing selection of unique clothing, jewelry, fashion accessories, home decor items, book/paper crafting arts, holiday gifts and more. Browse each artist’s listing to see examples of the work and learn a little about them.

Art to Wear & More will be online at sactextilearts.org through January. The Sacramento Center for the Textile Arts, a 41-year-old nonprofit membership organization, provides programming for artists, collectors and fans of textile and fiber arts.


The Sacramento City Council recently approved funding for Sacramento HeART and Mind, a new program that combines artists, community mentors and mental health support specialists to assist students affected by COVID-19 and school closures.

“The pandemic brought about…abrupt adjustments to the ‘new normal’ of distance learning, and forced students to physically isolate—something that our kids have really struggled with mentally and emotionally,” says Councilmember Jay Schenirer, who spearheaded the effort. “The program will provide a creative outlet for these students and make sure our artists and community organizations have the mental health training to support our kids during this challenging year.”
“Participation (in the arts) can reduce anxiety levels, improve self-esteem and allow students to express emotions and experiences that are otherwise difficult to put into words,” explains Megan Van Voorhis, the city’s cultural and creative economy manager.

The Office of Arts & Culture is working with the Sacramento City Unified School District and Twin Rivers Unified School District to finalize the schools that will participate in the program. A support team that includes a mental health specialist, community mentor and artist will work with each site. For more information, visit arts.cityofsacramento.org.


Archival Gallery in East Sacramento presents its annual holiday group show “The Toy Show” from Dec. 10–30, complete with its signature window display of vintage light-up Santas.

The exhibition features new works in paint, sculpture, fabric, collage, glass, pastel and more by featured artists Phyllis Cottrell, Shenny Cruces, Lindsey Dillon, Richard Feese, Lindsay Filby, Mason Gunn, Maureen Hood, Debra Kreck-Harnish, Kiny McCarrick, Leslie McCarron, Linda Nunes, Kellie Raines, Sean Royal, Victoria Smith, JC Strote, Maria Winkler and others.

Visitors are welcome during normal business hours with no appointment needed. Masks are required at all times. For more information, visit archivalgallery.com.


The Midtown Association has announced the recipients of its Street Food Sacramento grant, designed to celebrate and amplify Sacramento’s diverse street food culture, while reducing entry barriers of historically underrepresented populations.

Christopher Boone Argyros of Boone’s Red Onions, Celine Callejon of Épicée and Carla Vazquez of La Minerva won booth space at the Midtown Farmers Market and the Wednesdays at Winn evening market for one year, including infrastructure, marketing support, insurance and startup funds.

“As someone whose day job is working to help communities connect and thrive more equitably, I know that the access to opportunity designed specifically for communities of color, immigrants and the LGBTQIA are critical pathways to success and inclusion,” says selection committee member Monica Hernandez of Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

“The expertise offered by these Street Food Sacramento grants are the practical supports needed to help these businesses and communities grow and thrive.” For more information, visit exploremidtown.org/streetfoodsac.


The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration is calling all middle and high school students in Sacramento, Yolo, Placer, El Dorado and Sutter counties to submit an essay for its annual essay contest celebrating Dr. King.

This year’s theme: “Congressman John Lewis was an African-American politician and civil rights leader who fought to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis preached ‘get in good trouble, necessary trouble’ with an emphasis on non-violence. Congressman Lewis encouraged peaceful protests to achieve goals, such as guaranteeing the right to vote for all Americans. Congressman Lewis encouraged others to stand up for justice. With COVID-19 health guidelines in mind, describe an injustice that you see in today’s society and what you can do to address the issue and advancement of John Lewis’ call to action.”

Deadline to submit is Monday, Dec. 21, at 5 p.m. Essays can be sent as an attachment in Word or PDF format to mlkessaycontestsac@gmail.com or by mail to MLK Celebration, 2021 Essay Contest, 885 University Ave., Sacramento, CA 95825.

Essays will be judged on creativity, clarity, content, coherence and adherence to the theme. Winning essays will be published on the MLK Committee website, recognized as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration event in January 2021 and published in the February edition of Inside Sacramento. For more information, visit mlkcelebrationsacramento.org.


Many readers will remember our popular Momservations column written by Arden Oaks writer Kelli Wheeler. “I wrote the monthly columns to share my parenting wisdom as I followed my children from diapers to diploma,” Wheeler says.

The award-winning family columnist and author took her readers on a parenting journey for 16 years as her kids grew up. “They grew from too-smart-for-their-own-good toddlers to typical, patience-testing teens,” Wheeler says. “My goal was to promise mothers that no matter how worried you might be about a parenting fail, raised with love, laughter and room for mistakes…most kids turn out okay!”

Just four months into her Inside column Wheeler was discovered by fellow mother and then-California First Lady Maria Shriver, who hired Wheeler to write for her blog, website and conferences.

Wheeler just released a new book titled “Don’t Forget Your Lunch: Diapers to Diploma Parenting Wisdom.” The book features highlights from her columns over the 16-year run. Visit momservations.com for more information.


The Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce recently launched the #JuntoSacramento (#TogetherSacramento) campaign to provide support to regional Hispanic and minority-owned businesses impacted by the pandemic. The organization is offering webinars, one-on-one consulting and translation services.

Upcoming webinars will be Dec. 4 at 9 a.m. on financial planning; Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. on disaster preparedness; and (date and time TBD) on financial education and management. Webinars are free and instructed in Spanish and English. Participants can register at sachcc.org/juntossacramento.

One-on-one consulting in Spanish and English is available anytime and provides assistance with digital marketing, budgeting, operational planning, financial planning and access to capital. Sign up at sachcc.org/1-on-1-consulting.


Show business veteran R. Scott Edwards has launched a new laugh-out-loud podcast, “Standup Comedy: Your Host & MC.” The show features stories, interviews and comedy sets from the golden age of comedy, including work from Joan Rivers, Sinbad, Steve Martin, Jay Leno, Dana Carvey, Bob Saget, Jerry Seinfeld and others.

“I wrote a book about my 40-plus years on the fringe of show business as a homage to standup comedy as an art form,” explains Edwards, who founded comedy club Laughs Unlimited in 1980. “I had already had several turndowns by publishers, so the podcast, as (my wife) Jill suggested, offered me a platform/vehicle for what I wanted to share.

“To be honest, I miss the stage, the audiences, the comics—everything about live entertainment. Whatever is happening in your life, going to a live standup show will offer a respite and make you laugh and feel better…at least for a while.

This podcast allows me to share that experience again with an audience and reconnect with old friends.”

A new podcast drops every Sunday at standupyourhostandmc.com. Also check out Edwards’ blog for amazing photos of your favorite funny faces.


Girl Scouts from East Sacramento Troop 2379 recently presented a Buddy Bench to St. Ignatius Parish School principal Patty Kochis.

But this is not just any bench. It’s made of household plastic lids the Girl Scouts collected for more than two years and then turned over to a specialized recycling facility that ground them up and molded them into a beautiful forest-green bench.

After meeting with Kochis and presenting their idea, the scouts were authorized to deliver the bench. This project earned them the Girl Scout Bronze Service Award—the first award on the path to the Girl Scout Gold Award (the equivalent of the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout). The troop will present a bench to Bancroft Elementary at a future date.


One Flow Yoga, the East Sac vinyasa (flow/power yoga) studio at 56th and H streets, celebrated its 10th year in October.
In a thank you letter to their community, founders Kate Saal and Tracy da Silva reminisced about how far they’ve come: “Our first class was held on October 20, 2010, at 6 p.m. for 55 people. This has always been a bootstrap endeavor. When we opened, I (Kate) had $30 to my name…What have we learned in 10 years? To ask better questions. We ask what we’ve taken to heart, svadhyaya? What company do we keep in the form of our thoughts and words, and yes, people? Where do we put our efforts? What do we value? And who do we love?”

One Flow Yoga is currently offering virtual live classes through Zoom, on-demand classes through its website, and socially distanced studio and outdoor classes. For more information, visit oneflowyoga.com.


La Familia Counseling Center has introduced two new workforce development programs to help disadvantaged community members.

The Green Technology Training program—in partnership with California Mobility Center and SMUD—provides Sacramento residents who were displaced from the labor force due to COVID-19 with training in manufacturing and vehicle technology. CMC students will receive 80 hours of job-realigning training, coaching and potential placement at local advanced manufacturing companies upon completion. Participants must be at least 18 and living within the city of Sacramento, provide right-to-work documentation and have been impacted by the pandemic. Training will be held virtually at La Familia Counseling Center.

The Community Health Worker Model one-year certificate program provides training in frontline public health care to address the spread of COVID-19 in the Hispanic/Latino community. In partnership with Los Rios Community College District, participants will be aligned with a career coach and some will be hired as community health care worker interns and/or paired with contact tracers. Upon completion, the career coaches will assist graduates with securing employment.

La Familia Counseling Center has provided multicultural counseling, outreach and support services to the community for more than 40 years. For more information, visit lafcc.org.


The main wing of Sutter Roseville Medical Center is getting a refresh thanks to a new partnership with Blue Line Arts’ “Art at Work” program. The nonprofit art organization will provide new contemporary artwork every three months to brighten up the hospital’s common areas, hallways and waiting rooms.

“The idea of art contributing to wellness is not new, but this year especially I think everyone is recognizing how their surroundings can contribute to their stress levels and overall wellness,” Blue Line Arts co-director Brooke Abrames says.

The Art at Work program rotates art quarterly for local businesses in exchange for an annual membership fee. The art remains for sale on consignment, creating more exhibition space and sales opportunities for local artists and providing fun and functional décor for businesses without the investment in permanent works. For more information, visit bluelinearts.org.


River City Food Bank has been named the 2020 Nonprofit of the Year by Assemblymember Ken Cooley.

As Sacramento’s oldest continuously serving food bank, River City Food Bank serves healthy food to nearly 20,000 people per month through its emergency food distributions, an increase of 32 percent as a result of the pandemic. Many of those struggling with hunger are the most vulnerable populations: children and seniors. For more information and ways to donate, visit rivercityfoodbank.org.


Midtown Association’s annual holiday celebration “12 Days of Midtown” will be held Dec. 1–12 with events and specials to fill you with holiday cheer.

Visit exploremidtown.org/12-days-of-midtown or follow @ExploreMidtown on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter each day to check out daily specials, giveaways and sales from Midtown restaurants, boutiques, arts groups, coffeehouses and more.
Midtown is both walkable and bike-friendly with parking available in nearby garages and various lots. Valet parking options are also available at 24th and K streets and 18th and Capitol streets on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Also this holiday season, the city of Sacramento is offering free on-street metered parking from I to L streets and Front to 29th streets on weekdays after 4:30 p.m. and all day on weekends through Dec. 25.


CLARA recently announced the winning participants of its new CATALYST program, a nine-month professional apprenticeship for emerging artists age 16–18.

Applicants from the Sacramento City Unified School District who plan to pursue an artistic career have been paired with a Sacramento-based artist mentor and personal coach to learn vocational skills. The students will also participate in a remote cohort that focuses on leadership development and goal-setting.

“There are things time has taught me,” says music mentor Brian Chris Rogers, an award-winning vocalist and drummer who has opened for Yo-Yo Ma, Bernie Sanders, Blues Traveler and Warren G. “As a mentor, my aim is to use that wisdom to give (McClatchy High School junior Kathryn Taytroe) the piece of the puzzle that will make her art soar…She can play circles around me—and that’s how it should be.”

The pairings are Taytroe and Rogers; Luther Burbank senior Estephany Anguiano and artist/illustrator Tabitha Jensen; The Met Sacramento senior Silvia Fernanda Figueroa and choral conductor/music educator/performer Kamilyn Davis; John F. Kennedy High School senior Viviana Garcia and photographer/collagist/printmaker Emma Montalbano; The Met junior Karla Lopez and bassist/vocalist/songwriter Casey Lipka;

The Met junior Isabel Melchor and sculptor/designer Christina Pate; JFK junior Daniela Torres Melendrez and photographer Melissa Uroff; McClatchy senior Theo Osborn and multidisciplinary artist Brandon Alxndr; The Met junior Noah Sample and drummer Patrick Shelley; and The Met senior Leo Williams and photographer/tattooist Jocelyn McGreggor.

For more information, visit claramidtown.org/arts-education/catalyst.


The Sacramento Jazz Cooperative has announced it will continue its holiday tradition with the presentation of the Vivian Lee Quartet Christmas Show as part of its From the Living Room Series, available to stream starting the day after Thanksgiving.

With Joe Gilman on piano, Buca Necak on bass, Jeff Minnieweather on drums and Vivian Lee on vocals, the performance is
sure to dazzle jazz aficionados of all stripes.

Rent the video for $10 on Vimeo and watch at your convenience for 30 days. Download the Vimeo app for best viewing quality. For more information, visit sacramentojazzcoop.org.


Sacramento Youth Mental Health will present a free webinar at 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14, in partnership with Art With Impact, as part of the Mindset Sacramento Webinar Series.

The youth-run organization connects high school age people around the region for peer-to-peer communication to destigmatize the conversation around mental health. With this proactive approach, SYMH hopes to stop the symptoms of common mental health issues before they become seriously degrading.

The December webinar will cover why and how art can help with mental health through five-minute movies created by local teens working with Art With Impact. For more information, visit sacymh.org.

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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