Out and About Sacramento

By Jessica Laskey
August 2019

‘Behind the Barre’ returns with visual and digital creations

Capital Dance Project, an independent collective of professional ballet dancers, will present this month its fifth annual “Behind the Barre,” an innovative dance and multimedia performance.

Thirty-two Sacramento artists will participate in a four-week residency combining dance, choreography, art, tech and live music, which will culminate in “Behind the Barre.”

CDP has selected 11 artistic collaborators, including visual artists, digital media artists, the Celtic band Stepping Stone, and bassist and singer Casey Lipka, to participate this year. These artists will work with CDP’s resident choreographers to create integrated art installations, newly composed music performed live and digital landscapes presented on a movie screen.

Since its inception in 2015, CDP has provided free tickets to 400 underserved youth, created 40 world-premiere dance works, and collaborated with more than 30 local artists and musicians. New this year, CDP will also host sensory-friendly dance classes at local studios thanks to a generous $10,000 donation from Kaiser Permanente.

“Behind the Barre” will play Friday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the Crest Theatre at 1013 K St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a local arts and craft fair. Tickets are $25 ($30 the week of the show).

CDP will also present its third annual “Sensory Friendly Dance Program” for individuals with autism and their families on Sunday, Aug. 18, at noon and 2:30 p.m. at The Sofia at 2700 Capitol Ave. Tickets are $5. For more information, visit capitaldanceproject.org.


The next time you’re Downtown, make sure to cruise by the historic Elks Tower at 11th and J streets to check out the new mural by local artist Maren Conrad celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad—and much more.

“I felt it was very important to correct the omission of the contribution of the Chinese labor force to the Transcontinental Railroad,” Conrad says. Her mural depicts Chinese workers, who made up 90 percent of the workforce that built the railroad from Sacramento to Promontory, Utah—but have been largely ignored by history—above the words “Uniting a Nation.”

A historical photograph from Promontory “has served as a visual deception—anyone of Chinese heritage was asked to move out the frame,” Conrad says.

The mural is seven stories high and half a city block wide, and was completed in only seven days. It took eight artists working 20 hours a day to bring the project to fruition.

“I was able to speak with some of the Chinese ambassadors (at the unveiling in May) about their long struggle to rectify this piece of history,” Conrad says. “Hearing their gratitude and joy at having this large-scale part of history conveyed accurately was the best part of the project.”


Join runners, walkers and art lovers for this year’s Race for the Arts, Saturday, Aug. 24, at William Land Park, benefiting local arts organizations and programs. Runners and walkers of all ages will participate in the 5K Run/Walk, while the younger set will enjoy Kids Fun Runs.

In addition to the race, there will be a free arts festival, entertainment along the racecourse, more than 40 interactive hands-on booths, food samplings and food trucks. Bring a picnic and sit under the shade trees.

Race for the Arts raises funds and awareness for California nonprofit visual, performing, cultural, literary and culinary arts organizations, and school music, drama, literary, art and culinary arts programs. More than 215 arts organizations and school programs have benefited over the past 20 years.

Registration for the race begins at 7 a.m. The arts festival will be held 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit raceforthearts.com.


Everyone’s favorite “Reading Rainbow” host and Sacramento native LeVar Burton is being recognized by his hometown with the official renaming of Richfield Park in Meadowview as LeVar Burton Park. The park, just blocks from Burton’s childhood home, is located at 1900 Expedition Way.

“Mr. Burton’s career accomplishment shows the possibilities that are open to all residents, no matter where they come from,” Councilmember Larry Carr says. “He is an inspiration to our youth, to people of our community and to everyone in Sacramento.”

The Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning host of “Reading Rainbow,” and star of “Roots” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” not only has a park named after him—the city has also adopted a special resolution affirming June 11 as LeVar Burton Day.


The Midtown Association recently launched Midtown Parks, a new nonprofit arm to activate five Midtown parks: Fremont Park at 1515 Q St., Truitt Bark Park at 1818 Q St., Marshall Park at 915 27th St., Winn Park at 1616 28th St. and Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park at 2701 L St.

In addition to raising funds to invest in Midtown Parks (primarily through fundraising events, sponsorships and corporate partnerships), the Midtown Association will work to provide even more programming and make infrastructure improvements at each park.

“Great cities feature incredible parks,” Midtown Association executive director Emily Baime Michaels says. “Highly activated, well-maintained and high-quality parks foster increased and repeated use, serve as gathering points for the community and encourage the community to linger longer in welcoming spaces.”

For more information, visit midtownparks.org.


Sacramento residents can host their own discussions on how to make the city a better place to live. Meeting-in-a-Box, available online by the city of Sacramento, provides the material needed to bring together friends, family and neighbors to share ideas and proposals for the future of the River City.

Meeting-in-a-Box is part of a larger outreach strategy that includes interest-based focus groups, online engagement and nearly 30 city-planned events to collect input from community members to help form the Sacramento 2040 General Plan Update, which looks forward to the next 20 years.

“Meeting-in-a-Box is a great opportunity for the community to participate in shaping the future of Sacramento, engage with their neighbors and offer insights back to the city at their convenience,” says Remi Mendoza, senior planner and project manager with the City of Sacramento Community Development Department.

A Meeting-in-a-Box Guidebook with step-by-step instructions is available at sac2040gpu.org, under Participate.


Sacramento’s wastewater treatment plant in Elk Grove is also home to a 2,150-acre expanse of open space called Bufferlands—a buffer between the treatment plant and residential neighborhoods.

This important nature area provides hundreds of acres of high-quality wildlife habitat, farmland and open space.
Join the team that maintains Bufferlands for a twilight tour on Tuesday, Aug. 13, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to explore some of the Great Central Valley habitats at dusk. During the tour participants will have a chance to see beavers, river otters, muskrats, raccoons, owls and more.

Bring water and binoculars, and wear appropriate clothing for walking on trails. Also, remember to leave your pooch at home. To confirm your reservations for Twilight on the Bufferlands, contact Roger Jones at (916) 875-9174 or jonesro@sacsewer.com.


Georgia Presnell, an active member of the Soroptimist of Sacramento since 1974, just celebrated her 100th birthday. Earlier this year, the club presented Presnell with a ruby pin and a special letter of recognition from Soroptimist International of the Americas, the global women’s organization whose members volunteer to improve the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment.

Presnell served as president of the local club in 1982 and is still active on three committees. She’s also volunteered for numerous nonprofits, including the March of Dimes, Easter Seals and Shriners. She retired from the banking industry three times, but jobs kept calling her back. She permanently left the workforce at age 92, last retiring from American River Bank in 2012.

“Georgia still lives at home on her own, still drives her own car and still dresses like she just stepped out of a band box,” says Nancy Wolford-Landers, Soroptimist of Sacramento recording secretary and membership chair. “She and her husband were avid ballroom dancers. Consequently, Georgia still has great legs and enjoys wearing high heels to show them off advantageously.”


Bank of America has selected four local high school students to participate in this year’s Student Leaders program, which offers young people an opportunity to build their workforce and leadership skills through a paid summer internship at a local nonprofit.

This year’s participants are Solana Torres-Pepito and Aya Harel of Sacramento, Faraz Godil of Granite Bay and Charles Holmes of Rocklin.

Student Leaders participants gain work experience and advance their civic engagement by interning at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Sacramento. They also participate in an annual leadership summit in Washington, D.C., with nearly 300 other young people from across the country to build advocacy and leadership skills, develop a peer network and meet with members of Congress.

“We recognize that building workforce skills early can help prepare a young person for long-term success,” Bank of America Greater Sacramento president Matt McCormack says.

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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