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Arts & Entertainment Committee


Firms up Downtown Fundraiser


to be held on Saturday, October 6 from 5-8 PM


By Paula McConnell

Plans are coming together for a Downtown Fundraiser Gala to be held on Saturday evening, October 6th from 5-8p.m. Funds will go toward the lighting of the sixty-eight downtown trees. Fred Menard of Indian Alley Antiques has been working very hard to get the trees lit for the past several years. A few years ago Menard went to the downtown merchants and asked them to supply a recipe from their family treasure chest of recipes. He then had a recipe book printed which he sells in his antique shop for $10.00 each. With the book’s proceeds he has accumulated well over $3,000 which is a good down payment on getting some of the trees lit throughout the downtown.


And now he and other members of the Arts & Entertainment Committee have come up with a fundraiser which they have titled: An Art, Music, & Wine Gala. For $20.00 an attendee will receive a wine glass, a wrist band, and a copy of Fred’s downtown cookbook. Approximately twenty downtown merchants will remain open for business for you to stroll through and visit. There will be music at the corner of Georgia Street & Marin, hors d’oeuvres in each shop or business, and excellent wines provided by local wineries. It was also agreed at this meeting that since Vallejo Main Street is heavily involved with the tree lighting project, all checks will be made out to Vallejo Main St. and the proceeds from this fundraiser will go directly to the historic downtown tree lighting program.

Coinciding with this fundraiser, VCAF (Vallejo Community Arts Foundation) will host a separate evening fundraiser from ll:00 p.m. at the Powerhouse Bar & Grill on Virginia Street. More details on that will follow. Approximately fifteen historic downtown building owners will host displays by local artists. Several building owners have thus far agreed to participate. These buildings are located at 629 Marin St., 714 Marin, 329 Georgia St., and 301 Georgia, etc. If you own a downtown building and are interested in hosting an art display in its windows, or if you are an artist interested in placing a window installation display, please contact Arts & Entertainment Committee coordinator Michelle Hightower; she is the Acting Planning Director at City Hall. Michelle will give you the necessary contact information. Coal shed artist Erin Bakke has worked long and hard to obtain the downtown building venues, and should be greatly commended for her efforts. Bakke informs us that the art curator will have his individual art display at 714 Marin Street. The art installation will be revealed during the October 6th fundraiser, along with the official lighting of the trees all to be accomplished at 7:00p.m. that evening.

Vallejo artist Rick Tringali is working on the third and final revision of the downtown directional signs. “I am thinking about creating them with blues (that would be a Nautical theme) and perhaps white with some yellow. It is still in the creative stage,” Tringali said. As previously mentioned, other Vallejo artists created the first sign which was allegedly rejected by the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board. The second sign, approved by Planning, was a totally unacceptable black and white sign which we suggested Buck Kamphausen could use for a grave marker in one of his many cemeteries. In the meantime, Kamphausen has possession of the first two signs, and will be working with Tringali to get these signs (the third time is the charm) finally completed. CCRC has given Kamphausen the green light to move forward on this. “I should have a good sample for everyone at the next meeting,” Tringali said. It was also agreed in previous meetings that a Vallejo sign maker would be contracted to make the signs, as opposed to the city of Napa company which was originally tapped for the job. “We have excellent companies right here in town, why did they go to Napa?” Kamphausen had said at a previous Arts & Entertainment meeting. (The first prototype was made in our neighboring town.). Michelle Hightower further informed the committee that the Arts & Entertainment District would definitely be expanded over to Florida Street, and up to the 500 block of Georgia Street. “We will implement this as an overlay of the Arts & Entertainment District,” she said. “That way we do not have to reprint maps, and brochures, and go through great work. Perhaps we will call it the ‘Northern Arts & Entertainment District’ when we refer to the Florida Street area,” Hightower said.

The Children’s Art Project will definitely move forward. Art will be selected and curated by James Orlando of VCAF (Vallejo Community Arts Foundation) who has agreed to select, implement, hang and coordinate the art for this project. A&E member Marian Swanson is to be complimented for persuading Orlando to get on board with this program. “We will display art on the 2nd and 3rd floors of City Hall,” Hightower said. “We don’t trust putting too much art downstairs on the first floor, because few people are there to monitor vandalism, and it is a high traffic area,” she said. “We have also decided to place some of our adult artists’ work on display too. We think it is important to celebrate all of our Vallejo artists,” the Assistant Planning Director Hightower said. (If you are a Vallejo artist, now is the time to get on board with this project and offer your art for possible display selection.) It was agreed that the artwork would be displayed for a six month period once the project is initially mounted.

In final news there is some talk about having a large metal welcome sign overhead mounted in the 500 block of Georgia Street to welcome people to ‘Historic Downtown’ or to ‘The Arts & Entertainment District’ when they drive down Georgia Street toward the waterfront. The city of Vacaville has done this and word has that such a welcoming sign has been of great benefit to them. “But that type of (over the street) sign is very expensive,” Hightower said. “Perhaps we may need to have a few fundraisers at Natasha’s ‘Dance Unlimited’ to raise funds for that project. (Hey folks, have you ever thought about tapping into a few bucks of Measure B money? That is what it has been set aside for – to improve the overall community).

The next Arts & Entertainment Committee meeting will be held on September 13th, at the City Hall conference room at 6:00p.m. Michelle Hightower will be the usual meeting chair, and on occasion, Economic Development Coordinator, Annette Taylor sits in. If you are an artist, or just interested in the betterment of historic downtown, stop in for an update. Or just continue to read a thorough update on these pages.