Out & About

By Jessica Laskey
May 2021

Un/Equal Freedoms

Sac State art project addresses issues of social justice

Sacramento State’s Center on Race, Immigration and Social Justice has launched “Un/Equal Freedoms: Expressions for Social Justice,” a website and virtual exhibition that will house artwork from 35 local artists exploring the themes of “unequal freedoms” and “more equal freedoms.”

CRISJ produced the exhibition in collaboration with the Sacramento Office of Arts and Culture, Sacramento Region Community Foundation, NextGen Policy, Sac State’s Student Government and city Councilmembers Eric Guerra and Jeff Harris.

Earlier this year, professional and emerging artists from around the region and the Sac State community submitted artwork in various mediums, including sculpture, textile, painting, drawing, mixed media, digital, dance, music, performance, spoken word and poetry. Thirty-five artists were selected by the project subcommittee—comprised of members of regional art and social justice organizations, local artists and activists, and Sac State faculty and students—to have their work featured on the site.

“The artworks in this exhibition grapple with the unequal freedoms embedded in our social structures,” explains Monicka Tutschka, Sac State political science professor and subcommittee member. “The works offer artistic expressions for social justice, laying bare these unequal freedoms, giving marginalized voices a space for expression, representing forward action, and ultimately offering a vision for an improved society with greater equality and freedom for all.”
For more information, visit crisj.org or csus.edu/crisj.


Almost 700 nonprofits in the capital area will rally donors to support their favorite charitable causes for this year’s Big Day of Giving on Thursday, May 6. The annual online give-a-thon has raised $52 million for local organizations since 2013.

“This year’s Big Day of Giving is coming at a crucial time,” says Linda Beech Cutler, chief executive of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, which organizes the event. “Like other businesses, nonprofits have been hard hit by cascading crises over the past year, forcing them to lay off staff, cancel fundraisers and cut programs. Yet, they’ve risen to help so many in our community through this moment.”

Donors can review comprehensive profiles of the 698 participating organizations and get more information at bigdayofgiving.org.


Get your cameras out. Friends of East Sacramento is sponsoring the ninth annual McKinley Rose Garden photography contest, open to amateur and professional photographers.

“We are looking for some general overall shots of the garden showing the variety of beds, as well as close-up portraits of individual roses and the other plants in the garden,” says Lisa Schmidt, co-founder of Friends of East Sacramento.
The garden is a popular wedding spot, located at the corner of H and 33rd streets, and maintained by volunteers and managed by the Friends of East Sacramento.

Photos must be taken during the month of May. Email high-resolution photo entries (limit of three per person) to friendsofeastsac@aol.com. Deadline to submit photos is June 1. Winners will be featured in Inside Sacramento and displayed in the lobby of Clunie Community Center.


The Sacramento Metro Chamber Foundation recently named Improve Your Tomorrow as the grant recipient of its 11th annual Inspire Giving program. Improve Your Tomorrow is a nonprofit created to break the school-to-prison pipeline by helping young men of color through college.

The organization will receive a $10,000 grant, as well as in-kind services provided by Inspire Giving, to create a four-week intensive STEAM-focused summer school in South Sacramento in partnership with Breakthrough Sacramento. The program will be designed to ensure low-income males of color enter high school prepared to take rigorous classes, graduate, attend college and join the workforce.

“As a region, we will truly thrive when all of our communities have equitable access to opportunities to be successful,” says Heather Williams, Inspire Giving board chair.


Bank of America has named the Food Literacy Center and Juma Ventures as the 2020 Neighborhood Builders awardees for greater Sacramento.

The nonprofits were selected for their work addressing economic mobility by providing food and nutrition education programs to underserved communities and pathways for at-risk youth to secure better paying jobs.

Each organization will receive a $200,000 grant, a year of leadership training, and access to peer organizations across the country and capital to expand their impact.

“This $200,000 grant from Bank of America will allow us to continue our virtual programming to ensure youth are work-ready when stadiums reopen,” says Stephen Norris, development director at Juma Ventures, which places young adults from underserved communities into jobs where they gain work experience, money management and teamwork skills.
For more information, visit foodliteracycenter.org and juma.org/sacramento.


United Way California Capital Region is starting its first wave of funding from the $10 million gift received in December from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The initial $500,000 will help individuals and families gain social and financial capital through United Way’s Capital Region Independence Initiative; support digital equity by removing technological barriers to education and employment; empower Sacramento residents at Mirasol Village to have greater influence in the area’s redevelopment; and provide COVID-19 relief funding in Yolo County.

“We knew this gift from MacKenzie Scott would be a game-changer for our community, and I’m thrilled that we are able to begin distributing this much-needed funding,” says Stephanie Bray, president/CEO of United Way California Capital Region.

For more information, visit yourlocalunitedway.org.


Sacramento Charter High School in Oak Park has been ranked the highest performing high school for Black students in California by the California Charter Schools Association in its new report “Serving Black Students With Excellence.”
Part of the St. HOPE family of nonprofits, Sac High was one of the top five schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District for Black student performance in 2019 and is now the highest performing high school for Black students in California. This is due in part to the school’s equity-based instructional practices and strategies, as well as three educational hallmarks: College-Going Culture, Power-to-Lead Mentality and Data-Informed Instructional Practices.
Graduation rates for the 2018–19 school year were more than 97 percent for Black students, compared to the Sacramento City district average of 88 percent. In 2020, all Black students at Sac High graduated meeting the requirements for admission to University of California and California State University schools. For more information, visit sthope.org/sac-high.


PRIDE Industries has launched a free job helpline—called “I Am Able”—for people with disabilities.

Job seekers can call (844) I-AM-ABLE (426-2253) or visit prideindustries.com. A staff member will be in contact within 48 business hours to discuss the client’s needs (support services, training, employment) and available services and/or job opportunities.

In addition to transporting people with disabilities to worksites, PRIDE buses have been repurposed during the pandemic to deliver groceries, PPE, activity packets and pet supplies to employees with disabilities throughout the region. The buses also transport employees to medical appointments and provide socially distanced “scenic access rides” to support mental wellbeing.

“The COVID crisis has been difficult for us all, but individuals with disabilities have been particularly hard hit,” says Vic Wursten, PRIDE’s chief rehabilitation officer. “The isolation from their friends and co-workers has been devastating, which is why we at PRIDE needed to find ways for our employees with disabilities to stay connected with their support networks.”

Prior to the pandemic, PRIDE Industries’ fleet of 60 vehicles provided more than 21,000 monthly rides to individuals with disabilities who work in Placer, Sacramento, Yuba, Nevada and Sutter counties.


The city’s Front Street Animal Shelter is hosting drive-through clinics offering free pet vaccines, first-time pet licenses and microchipping on the second Saturday of each month at several Sacramento locations.

“Because of limited veterinary services during the pandemic, many animals are not getting the care they need,” says Front Street Shelter Manager Phillip Zimmerman.

Clinics are open to residents who live within the city of Sacramento and are on a first-come, first-served basis with no appointment needed.

Clinics will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 9 at Pannell Community Center (2450 Meadowview Road), June 13 at Oak Park Community Center (3425 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) and July 11 at Robertson Community Center (3525 Norwood Ave.). For more information, visit cityofsacramento.org/community-development/animal-care.


The East Sacramento Garden Tour to benefit David Lubin Elementary is back virtually on Mother’s Day weekend, May 8–9.
Participants will enjoy online garden tours, tutorials, boutiques and wine tasting. While free to join the fun, donations to the school are always appreciated. For more information, visit eastsacgardentour.com.


Looking for recreational facilities near you to make the most of spring weather? Check out the new website YourSacParks.com, a one-stop gateway to facilities like dog parks, trails, golf, horseback riding, tennis courts and more.

The website is a partnership of 19 recreation and park agencies in the Sacramento region, including Sacramento County’s Department of Regional Parks, with the goal of connecting residents to recreational services available in our area.


The Sacramento Regional Transit District is providing free transit rides to scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointments within SacRT’s service areas.

“Access to vaccinations is a top priority for Sacramento County Public Health,” says Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye. “We do not want transportation to vaccination sites to be a barrier for anyone that wants to receive a vaccine.”

To ride free, customers must show a COVID-19 vaccine appointment confirmation via email, text or vaccine card. To plan your trip, visit sacrt.com, call (916) 321-BUSS (2877) or download the free SacRT SmaRT Ride app.


In lieu of its annual in-person fundraising walk, the Parkinson’s Foundation will present a Moving Day Drive-Thru Celebration at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 15, at Gibson Ranch Park in Elverta.

Participants are invited to decorate their cars for a chance to win a prize. Moving Day fundraising rewards will be available for pick up and donations can be dropped off—all without leaving your car.

If you can’t make it to the Moving Day Drive-Thru, join Virtual Moving Day on May 22, an interactive digital experience that will allow your team to take part in everything they love about Moving Day. For more information, visit movingdaywalk.org.


E Street Gallery will open with a Second Saturday group show from 5–8 p.m. on May 8. Paintings, ceramics, fiber and photography will be exhibited throughout the complex.

Artists will include Dave Hodapp, Larry Love, Carlaina Brown, Chris Thompson, Marc Cardinet, Laura Nolan-Boyd, Linda Gelfman, Aniko Kiezel, Cherie Hacker, Genesis Torres and Stanton Miller.

Masks will be required and a limited number of people will be allowed to enter the gallery at one time. Follow E Street Gallery, located Downtown between 11th and 12th streets, on Facebook and Instagram for details and updates.


The Sacramento Zoo is offering free virtual content to educators through the end of the month for Title 1 schools in the greater Sacramento region, thanks to a generous donation from T-Mobile.

Children in grades K–6 will have the opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation through animal videos, zookeeper talks and fun “guest” appearances. The 25-minute, pre-recorded program meets Next Generation Science Standards.

The content also includes a Teacher’s Guide with viewing suggestions and additional activities to further the learning opportunities within California curriculum standards. Title 1 educators may register at saczoo.com/education/online-programs.


The city’s Art in Public Places program recently launched Community Murals Sacramento, a temporary public art program where visual artists in the Sacramento region can apply for a community mural project in a district of their choice.

The program came about from the success of APP’s partnership with Sacramento City College last year for a Mural Speaker Series that set the stage for a city mural policy that clarifies how the city regulates and records murals. A component of the policy is a city-run community mural program that helps mentor young upcoming muralists and allows artists to work with local communities.

Following a panel selection process, each district will receive one or two community murals, depending on size and location. The city expects painting to begin in July and end with dedication events for each site in September, followed by a City Hall exhibition of all eight projects in November. For more information, visit arts.cityofsacramento.org.


California Stage will present a new monthly art event—First Stop, Second Saturday Art Exhibit—from 4–7 p.m. through October in the Courtyard Gallery at 1719 25th St.

On May 8, Cal Stage will feature work by photographer Anna Skacel, a native of England who spent much of her childhood in Nigeria before earning degrees in industrial textile design and education in the arts. She taught in England and Bahrain for several years before finding her way to Sacramento. For more information, visit calstage.org.


Elk Grove author Margaret Duarte recently launched an audiobook version of the first novel in her four-book fiction series, “Enter the Between.” The audiobook is narrated by voiceover artist and KCRA reporter Kristen Simoes.

“Kristen’s voice compelled me because of its familiarity, cohesiveness, and when you hear her, it’s like listening to a friend,” Duarte says.

“While I’ve been speaking into a microphone for decades, an audiobook is a whole different ballgame,” says Simoes, who attended elementary school and Elk Grove High School with Duarte’s oldest son. “It has been such a joy to work on this novel, and an honor to work with an author I respect and admire.”

Duarte has won two first-place awards and one second-place award for fiction in the Northern California Publishers & Authors awards competition, and first place for adult fiction in the California Author Project. The “Enter the Between” series can be found on Amazon.


Sixty local artists have been chosen for the 2021 Capitol Box Art Revival Project, led by the city of Sacramento’s Office of Arts and Culture. Project sponsors are the Capitol Area Development Authority and Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

This is the second cohort of artists selected for the program since its establishment in 2014. The inaugural Capitol Art Box Project temporarily wrapped 33 traffic utility boxes with vinyl artwork in the CADA neighborhood.

The 2021 Capitol Art Box Revival Project will wrap the same 33 boxes with new work, as well as an additional 32 boxes in the Downtown area, throughout summer and early fall.

“This project is about connecting artists with creative opportunities in the public realm and connecting them virtually to each other during the pandemic,” says CADA Executive Director Wendy Saunders. “We hope their art inspires community pride and deters vandalism of the utility boxes.”

For more information, visit capitolboxart.com.


The PBS KVIE Gallery’s newest exhibition, “California Dreamin’” featuring contemporary landscapes by Sue Chapman, will be on view through June 4.

A multi-year participant in the station’s renowned Art Auction, local painter Chapman has won several awards for her colorful paintings of Northern California vineyards, rivers and country roads.

The PBS KVIE Gallery showcases the art of past auction winners, jurors and California masters. The solo exhibitions rotate every two months and are curated by Jill Estroff, KVIE’s new art curator. The gallery is at 2030 West El Camino Ave. For more information, visit kvie.org/gallery.

If you’re an artist, the station’s Call for Artists for the 40th annual PBS KVIE Art Auction is open through May 31. Visual artists throughout Northern California are invited to enter their original artwork for consideration in this year’s three-day televised auction Oct. 1–3. For more information, visit kvie.org/artauction.


Each Sunday through May 31, enjoy free admission as part of Crocker Art Museum’s “Welcome Back Sundays,” sponsored by Western Health Advantage.

Four new exhibitions are now on view. “Legends from Los Angeles: Betye, Lezley and Alison Saar in the Crocker Collection” features transformed and reused historical objects. “Country, City and Sea: Dutch Romantic and Hague School Paintings from the Beekhuis Gift” explores the unique towns, landscape and shoreline of the Netherlands.

“Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings with works by her mother Pablita Velarde, and daughter, Margarete Bagshaw” showcases multigenerational Native American artwork. “The Edge of Elegance: Porcelains by Elsa Rady” explores the artist’s transition from producing functional objects to sleek sculptural vessels.

For reservations, visit crockerart.org.


Pocket resident Dick Mercer and Arden resident Lori Martin, co-owners of Experience Italy, were recently selected for Conde Nast Traveler’s 2021 Top Travel Specialists.

For the past 25 years, Mercer and Martin have planned more than 100 trips to Italy for individuals and groups. Starting in 1995 with small group tours to little-known towns, the duo has grown their business to include custom-designed foreign independent travel excursions tailored to each client’s timeframe, pace and budget.

“Experience Italy believes travel to Italy is about the people as much as it is about the places,” Mercer says. The selection by Conde Nast is “an honor that recognizes our knowledge and expertise in designing highly personalized travel experiences throughout Italy and connections to Italians.”

For more information, visit cntraveler.com or experienceitaly.com.


The UC Master Gardeners of Sacramento County have launched a YouTube channel to help gardeners get the most out of their gardens.

The channel features short instructional videos on all kinds of gardening topics, including installing water-efficient landscapes, growing food, pruning, attracting pollinators, managing pests and more. To access the videos, search the group’s name on YouTube or visit sacmg.ucanr.edu.


Archival Gallery in East Sacramento presents “The Artists Aviary,” featuring work by local artists who are known to use avian themes in their work.

Artists are Kim Scott, Maria Winkler, Kellie Raines, Richard Feese and Maija Peeples-Bright. Pastels by Terry Baxter are also on display all month on the gallery’s front wall.

Archival will be open for a Second Saturday reception May 8 from 5–7 p.m. with respectful distancing and limited capacity. The exhibit runs through May 29. For more information, visit archivalgallery.com.


Verge Center for the Arts is calling on artists for its 16th Annual Sac Open Studios, the region’s oldest, largest and most prestigious artist studio tour program that celebrates artists and makers across the Sacramento region.

The studio tour will take place in a hybrid format with virtual artist interviews during July and August, and in-person artist studio tours Sept. 11–12 and Sept. 18–19.

Registration is open through May 23. Register by May 16 and the fee is $99 for Verge members and $150 for nonmembers. After May 16, the fee is $175 for everyone. For more information, visit sacopenstudios.com.


Verge Center for the Arts will also present its inaugural Verge Fair from May 21–23. This three-day art market is designed to build a bridge between artists and art lovers while celebrating the vitality and creativity of the Sacramento arts scene.

The fair will kick off Friday, May 21, with virtual art lectures, artist Q&As and live stream performances, as well as a curated selection of art for sale in a silent auction and Verge retail space. Events will run through Sunday, May 23, with timed entry and social distancing. For ticket and sponsorship information, visit vergeart.com/attend/verge-fair-2021.


Axis Gallery on S Street will present two new exhibitions May 1–30.

The main gallery will feature “Quantum Collapse,” new paintings by Icelandic American Carmichael artist Omar Thor Arason that explore the hypothetical overlap of theoretical physics, psychology, religion and mythology.

The gallery’s East Room will feature “Gravity Don’t Pull Me,” a solo exhibition of the works of queer Latinx visual artist and curator Daniel Alejandro Trejo examining personal narratives and experiences when environments become unreachable.

For more information, visit axisgallery.org.


The Sacramento History Museum along the Old Sacramento Waterfront has reached a remarkable social media milestone: 1 million followers on the virtual video platform TikTok.

The museum’s rise to online fame started with a video posted in December of 82-year-old volunteer docent and Land Park resident Howard Hatch working in the museum’s print shop. That video has more than 17 million views to date.

“During the pandemic, our dedicated staff focused on finding fun and innovative ways to keep our museum top-of-mind,” says Delta Pick Mello, executive director of the Sacramento History Museum. “Of course, becoming a TikTok sensation was entirely unexpected, but we are enjoying the newfound fame—especially being featured nationally on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’—and are absolutely thrilled to introduce the museum to a worldwide audience in an exciting new way.”

The museum is now open and continues to feature virtual programs at sachistorymuseum.org and, of course, on TikTok.


Nudge Eco Store, a zero-waste and plastic-free shop, offers sustainable products intended to replace items typically purchased in or made of plastic.

Products include band-aids, deodorant, dental items, makeup, laundry detergent, kitchen brushes, makeup, skin care items and children’s toys. Nudge partners with independently owned small businesses, ethical companies and local makers to offer an alternative to the big box store or Amazon shopping experience.

“Nudge is making plastic-free shopping the new normal by ensuring it is possible for customers to purchase the products they desire, without the unnecessary packaging or fillers,” says co-owner and South Land Park resident Nick Lee. “It’s a feel-good experience that makes everyone an active participant in a more sustainable future!”

Nudge Eco Store is open in Midtown at 1126 18th St. For more information, visit nudgeecostore.com.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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