Out & About October 2021

By Jessica Laskey
October 2021

Creative Placemaking

New public art transforms River District

Two sculptures and seven murals are popping up along the North 12th Street corridor in the River District as part of the city of Sacramento’s metamorphosis-themed public art project.

The Office of Arts and Culture is partnering with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and local artists collective Trust Your Struggle to beautify the area. The River District is home to SHRA affordable housing project Mirasol Village, Loaves & Fishes and Mustard Seed School.

Part of Sacramento’s Creative Edge plan, the project is funded through a $350,000 grant from HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program to create public spaces that promote health, happiness and well-being. The new artwork is a way to “showcase and celebrate the diversity of the people and places in the River District,” says Donald Gensler, the city’s public arts manager.

In addition to the seven community murals painted across the River District, two 40-foot winged sculptures titled “Uplift” will be installed at the corner of Richards Boulevard and North 12th Street. The sculptures by artist Vicki Scuri symbolize positive transformational change.

“The sculptures and murals serve as a form of creative placemaking,” Gensler says. “Artists work with local government, communities and stakeholder organizations to design and support projects that work to implement community-driven change and growth, defining neighborhood spaces through shared history, art and culture.”


The 2021-22 state budget signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom has earmarked millions of dollars for projects in Sacramento, including at least $33.4 million to address homelessness.

The funding includes $30 million for infrastructure to develop the Sacramento Railyards; $30 million to provide grants to organizations like Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services; and $2 million to convert the shuttered City Tree Nursery into an urban agricultural hub through the Planting Justice project.

The budget also includes $3 million to fund a public health program and educational exhibit at the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity; $1.8 million for Fairytale Town’s expansion; $1 million for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center; $1 million for Capital Public Radio’s new performance space at 1010 8th St.; up to $10 million for the Sacramento River Cats; and $12 million for Cal Expo and the California State Fair.


The Food Literacy Center, providing free after-school programming in cooking, nutrition, gardening and active play to low-income elementary schools throughout the Sacramento area, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. What started in one school has, as of this fall, expanded into two school districts—Sacramento and Robla.

“I’m so proud to celebrate what we have accomplished for children in our community,” founder and CEO Amber Stott says. “I believe that change is possible—and our work proves it.”

The nonprofit recently received the first state pilot Farm to School grant through the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The center also realized a dream six years in the making when Floyd Farms at Leataata Floyd Elementary opened this fall. The former vacant lot has been transformed into a city-run community garden, Food Literacy Center’s cooking school and headquarters, and student gardens managed by program staff.

“The work that started 10 years ago is only starting to unfold in big, bold and bountiful ways,” Stott says. “Thank you for helping us make it this far. We still have a lot to do, and I am confident that we will accomplish more for student health, together.”

Over the past decade, the center has served more than 11,909 children and trained 125 Food Geniuses. For more information, visit foodliteracycenter.org.


The Triumph Cancer Foundation will host its annual benefit concert, Triumph Uncorked, on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 4–10 p.m. at Helwig Winery in Plymouth, with extra safety precautions in place.

The entire event takes place outdoors at less than 65% capacity. Guests, volunteers and support staff must show proof of vaccination to attend. A gourmet picnic dinner by Selland’s Market-Cafe and OBO’ Italian Table will be prepackaged in an insulated picnic bag.

Tickets must be purchased to attend the fundraiser, featuring music provided by Pop Fiction. An online silent auction, open to everyone, begins Oct. 8.

Proceeds from Triumph Uncorked will fund the local nonprofit’s signature program, Triumph Fitness, a 12-week exercise program designed to assist adult cancer survivors in their recovery. The program is offered at no cost to participants and is currently provided in a live virtual format with Triumph’s cancer exercise specialists guiding small groups of survivors.

For details about Triumph Fitness or to purchase tickets to Triumph Uncorked, visit www.triumphfound.org.


Registration is now open for the first annual Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk, hosted by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 9 a.m. at William Land Park. The foundation was established in memory of fallen 9/11 New York City firefighter Stephen Siller.

Through its Fallen First Responder Home Program, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation pays off home mortgages for the families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty, leaving small children behind. Most recently, the foundation paid off the mortgage of fallen Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Adam Gibson, who was killed near Cal Expo in January.

To register for the run/walk, visit t2t.org, under “Events,” then “Calendar.” For more information, email sacramento@tunnel2towers.org.


The School of Sacramento Ballet has named Jorge Laico as its new director.

Laico has danced professionally all over the country for 18 years and taught at Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Escuela Municipal del Teatro in Spain and Cirque du Soleil.

“School of Sacramento Ballet is for everyone in our community,” Laico says. “I am excited to bring expansive ideas to support the organization’s ‘wide open’ theme. We are augmenting our conservatory approach with new hip hop, contemporary dance and musical theater programs. Beyond basic athleticism, students learn critical thinking, problem solving, music appreciation, etiquette and manners. We provide excellent training, direction and a pathway for student dancers to become professionals.”

Subscriptions and individual tickets are now on sale for the ballet’s 2021-22 season “Wide Open,” which features “The Nutcracker,” as well as new and contemporary works like “Catalyst” and “Chrysalis,” and the return of “Beer & Ballet.” For more information, visit sacballet.org.


A portion of 2nd Avenue between 34th Street and Broadway in Oak Park is now permanently closed to motor vehicle traffic.

The closure is intended to make the roadway “more people-oriented and address community safety concerns,” says Sacramento Transportation Planner Leslie Mancebo. Pedestrians and cyclists are still welcome.

The Oak Park street section was identified as part of the city’s “high injury network” by the Vision Zero plan, with a goal to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Sacramento by 2027. The section was selected for closure due to the high instance of collisions.

The project is part of the Envision Broadway in Oak Park plan, approved by the City Council in March 2020 to address future mobility along the Broadway corridor from Franklin Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.


Find out what programs, events and classes are being offered at a park near you through the Carmichael Recreation and Park District.

Some activities this fall include youth sports, such as Elementary Volleyball at La Sierra Community Center and Middle School Volleyball at Barrett and Will Rogers middle schools. Basketball programs will also start soon.

The Kid’s Hangout After School Program promotes positive youth development and offers a safe space where children can explore new skills, build confidence and have fun with their peers. The program also provides homework support, an afternoon snack and transportation from the school.

For more information, visit carmichaelpark.com or call the La Sierra Recreation office at (916) 483-7826.


Due to ongoing health concerns, City Council and other public meetings will remain virtual for the time being. To make the public comment system more efficient and user-friendly, the City Clerk’s Office has made it available via Zoom.
“Public comments are critical to the meetings of our legislative bodies,” says City Clerk Mindy Cuppy. “We believe this new system will make the commenting process smoother for anyone who wants to participate.”

Visit cityofsacramento.org/clerk/meetings-and-agendas, click on “Upcoming Meetings,” locate the meeting you are interested in and click on “Agenda.” After you log into the webinar, you can “raise your hand” to make a comment. Cuppy suggests stating your name and council district, then you will have two minutes to address the legislative body and will be muted after the allocated time. Participants who wish to speak on multiple agenda items will follow the same process.

Members of the public can also submit public comments through the website via “eComment” or by emailing publiccomment@cityofsacramento.org.


The North Highlands Recreation and Park District recently received the Award of Distinction for Outstanding Innovation for its distance learning program from the California Association of Recreation and Parks Districts.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, NHRPD closed its offices and canceled its programming. To continue to meet the needs of North Highlands students, NHRPD staff—specifically Sarah Musser and Rachel Robertson—proposed a partnership with the Twin Rivers Unified School District to offer a distance learning program at the NHRPD community center. The model would provide in-person programming to the most impacted students: homeless youth, foster youth, students of single low-income parents and children of essential workers.

County Supervisor Rich Desmond reports that the proposal resulted in a fully subsidized, full-day school support program that was then expanded throughout the community. The program provided instruction, food assistance, fire-safety demonstrations, local law enforcement presentations, STEM presentations and holiday celebrations.


The AARP Foundation Experience Corps is recruiting volunteer tutors from October through May for the 2021-22 school year.

Research has found that 58% of Sacramento City Unified students in kindergarten through third grade did not meet the standard of the English Language Arts assessment on the MAP Growth test, which measures student growth and performance.

To help address this, Experience Corps partners with Title I schools to provide reading support to students who are not reading at benchmark. The program connects students with adult volunteers who help them with reading fluency and comfort.

“Volunteers play a vital role in the program, and we are always in need of caring, compassionate volunteers to help us carry out our mission,” says Ryan Mallory, Experience Corps Sacramento program manager.

For more information, email volunteers@sccsc.org or visit sccsc.org/experiencecorps.


The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District has detected an invasive mosquito, Aedes aegypti, at many homes in the Arden-Arcade area. The mosquitoes were first found in 2020 and the infestation continues to grow.

Aedes aegypti is a small dark mosquito that bites aggressively around the ankles, wrists and elbows during the day. It can live indoors and outdoors, and poses a threat for diseases like Zika and dengue.

Invasive mosquitoes lay eggs in small containers, such as plant saucers, buckets, bird baths, pet bowls, kids’ toys and any other container that can hold water for more than a few days.

“These mosquitoes are very active and we need your help to control them,” says Luz Maria Robles, public information officer for the district. “This is definitely a community effort.”

Staff members are conducting door-to-door inspections looking for areas where mosquitoes can breed, setting traps as part of their laboratory surveillance efforts and treating as necessary.

What should you do? At least once a week, drain all sources of standing water from your yard. Keep containers dry when not in use. Cover containers with fitted lids. Redirect sprinklers so containers don’t fill with water. Clean out rain gutters and drains. Do not share or transport plants and other containers from one place to another. For more information, call (800) 429-1022 or visit fightthebite.net.


Four local creative groups—Creativity+, DESCO, Design Sacramento and Roseville UX—have banded together to form a new partnership called Capitol Creative Alliance.

The alliance’s mission is to “champion and inspire the creative community to build a thriving Sacramento Region.”
CCA will offer accessible programming like podcasts, live design sessions, creative workforce education programs and other networking events to build a supportive community and advocate for the creative economy. For more information, visit capitolcreativealliance.org.


The Sacramento State Planetarium at the school’s beautiful new Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex has finally reopened for public shows and school field trips after being closed for more than a year due to the pandemic.

“I can’t wait to get back under that dome with an audience in front of me and the stars above me,” says Kyle Watters, planetarium director and Sac State physics lecturer.

Health and safety protocols require all visitors to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. Seating capacity will be limited to 60 people per show to promote social distancing. Entrance for school groups is free and general admission tickets are $5 through the fall semester.

Tickets sell out quickly, so be the first to know when the next show goes on sale by signing up for the planetarium mailing list at csus.edu/planetarium.


Sacramento-based Solar Cookers International has been named one of the Global Warming Mitigation Project’s 2021 Keeling Curve Prize Laureates.

SCI was one of two projects to win in the Social & Cultural Pathways category and was recognized for its work in “improving human and environmental health by supporting the expansion of effective carbon-free solar cooking in world regions of greatest need.”

Winning in this category “recognizes the importance of SCI’s leadership through advocacy, capacity building and research to spread the word about the remarkable effectiveness of solar cooking as a solution not only to addressing climate change, but also a number of other health and environmental challenges,” says SCI Executive Director Caitlyn Hughes.

Each year, the Keeling Curve Prize awards $25,000 each to 10 projects around the world with significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or promote carbon uptake. For more information, visit solarcookers.org.


Access Leisure and Southside Clubhouse are hosting a series of Play Date events at Southside Park for kids ages 3–12 of all abilities. The next play date is Saturday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Play date activities include science, art and music programming—plus an appearance by Dinger from the Sacramento River Cats—and plenty of opportunities for parents and caregivers to connect with each other and local resource providers. To register, email hkopf@citofsacramento.org or visit altaregional.org/events-calendar.


Registration is now open for Wandering Women Retreats’ first international excursion in the new year: An Inspiring Journey Through Portugal from May 7–14, 2022.

Visit exciting destinations like the national tile museum, ancient palaces, a century-old textile factory, artisan markets and more with a group of like-minded creative women. The retreat will travel to Lisbon, the eccentric town of Sintra and the historic countryside town of Evora, with the charming Casa do Governador serving as home base.
Along the way, Wandering Women staff—including founder Cassie Berube, a local Sacramento artist—will lead participants through creative prompts to sketch in various locations. Guest artist Kara Aina will also lead guests through custom workshops inspired by Portugal. For more information, visit wanderingwomenretreats.com/enchanting-portugal.


The Downtown Sacramento Foundation has announced the 11 concepts selected as semi-finalists in its annual Calling All Dreamers retail business competition. The semi-finalists will continue to compete for a Downtown storefront, $20,000 cash prize and coveted business startup package valued at more than $120,000.

The semi-finalists are Anime Flexx, a retail store and hub for everything anime-related; Bubble Cone, a food truck business with house-made savory and dessert waffles; Gone Grazey, a charcuterie and cheese company; Gusto Gaucho, which produces hand-crafted empanadas and pastries; Plantura, a contemporary Cali-Mexican bakery and café; River City Wine, a retail center; Sloppy 2nds BBQ eatery, hoping to expand from Elk Grove to Downtown; Streetzlan, serving elevated street food; Sweet Tooth Factory, a dessert lover’s paradise; The Jazzy Bird, specializing in authentic Peruvian cuisine; and Urban Shaman, providing organic and fair-trade self-care items.

To learn more about each business concept, visit callingalldreamers.org.


The Arden-based Eventide Community congregation recently returned from Alaska, where they were invited to help the Metlakatla Presbyterian Church raise a totem pole to celebrate 100 years of ministry.

Eventide’s Disaster Response Ministries team, led by Pastor Jeanie Shaw, has a long-held partnership with the T’simshian Tribe in southeastern Alaska. The team helped the T’simshian Tribe raise the totem pole—a symbol of the community’s history, culture and traditions—that had been carved by Master Carver Wayne Hewson over the past two years.
“It is a huge symbol of God’s love for all people for the church to raise a totem—the first such pole at a Presbyterian church in Alaska,” Shaw says. She explains that the climate of the Pacific Northwest has been difficult for the T’simshian people, as has our government’s policy that historically made it illegal for T’simshians to speak their language and practice their art, dance and song.


Sacramento breweries won big at the second California Craft Brewers Cup, including Urban Roots Brewing, which was named Brewery of the Year.

Out of 1,249 entries from 191 breweries, Sacramento breweries received the most medals. The Sacramento Area Brewers Guild also won the Brewers Guild of the Year award. For more information, visit ccbc.beer.

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

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