Art Happens 2011
This was a benefit event to support art in Sacramento. Sutter Middle School and Nevada Union High School students exhibited works of art by their students. Artwork created by the students also helped their school art programs as
100 percent of sales was given to the respective school’s art program.
The event was sponsored by Sacramento News and Review, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Sacramento Bee, Sacramento Press and others. A day full of art, music, food, wine tasting and great music contributed to the festivities.
The Sacramento Art Complex was full of guests and they were able to partake in activities at the main gallery where artwork by Nevada Union High School students was exhibited and available for purchase. A stage for performers was also set up here as was a prize table for raffle winners to select prizes. A merchandise table was also set up for musical guests to sell their CDs and other items. The Sacramento Press had also set up a prize wheel and give-away area and provided streamed live media coverage of stage performances.
The back patio had activities for kids and face painting by Christine Conklin and friends. Artwork by Kristen Hoard was being shown and sold. Coconut Al’s Catering cooked some delicious food in the back patio as well. Out in the sculptural Garden, Steve Cook’s artwork was available for viewing and purchase.
Susan Rabinovitz, at one point took the microphone to say, “Once again thank you so much for supporting Art Happens and the students and local artists. Thank you also for watching all of the great bands that have been playing and really hanging out with us today. It’s been awesome.” she then announced some winners from the raffle. In between acts she came up and announced raffle winners who were then able to pick a prize from a table that held all the prizes and winners had to be present.
The event is set up to raise money for art related scholarships and grants. Art Happens assists artists and musicians to exhibit and sell their product. Sponsor support creates most of the generated funds that go toward grants, scholarships and school artwork exhibits.
The event began at 11 in the morning and Julianna Zachariou, a 2010 Jammies winner and a Sacramento Artists Council scholarship 2010 winner, was scheduled to perform. When I arrived at the gallery Parie Wood, 2011 Jammies 3rd place and Judge’s Award Winner as well as Adam Lewis had already performed. I arrived when Alyssa Cox and the Flatland band were already on stage.
When I first arrived Alyssa Cox and her group had already started their set. I walked in and heard the sweet vocals and melody of “Less Than Comforting”. This was the first time I’ve heard them play and their melody was quite captivating.
I walked around the main gallery and looked at the art hanging on the walls created by Nevada Union High School students.
I met with Mark Rabinovitz, Vice President, Sacramento Artists Council and he filled me in on the art being exhibited. The Nevada Union High School of Grass Valley artwork was in exhibit at the Main Gallery and the Sutter Middle School gallery was set up towards the back.
Sutter Middle School’s art instructor Miss O’Neill said the art on exhibit was from the 7th and 8th grade classes and art club. “I’m their art teacher Miss O’Neill, the assignment was that it had to be something colorful, anything they chose had to have a rough draft and for their second coat they had to use all mix colors. They couldn’t use anything straight out of the bottle. That was the only criteria.” she said when asked to say something about their art.
Her enthusiasm was great to witness and her passion for the arts came through as she discussed her student’s work.
O’Neill is the only art teacher at Sutter Middle School. As friends and family members came to see the artwork she was able to direct them straight to where that particular student’s art was. All had a number to help identify each art piece and she seemed to know where each piece of art was situated.
In the back patio Coconut Al’s Catering was serving some delicious dishes. I tried their Pinchos which was skewered chicken with a very tasty Caribbean pineapple sauce. This catering service is available for private parties, corporate events, cocktail receptions and festivals. For more information on their services you can contact Coconut Al’s at 916-549-9517.
Other Coconut Al’s recipes offered were Steakbites, Chilean Empanadas, Spinach and Queso Blanco Empanadas, Tomato/cucumber/cilantro salads, Dan’s Potato Salads, Arroz con Pollo and guava based ribs along with other delicious dishes.
Alex Perez can provide further information on the items mentioned as well as other available dishes. Perez said they had been in business for about a year and a half and concentrate primarily on Latin cuisine. He lived in Puerto Rico for a while and had the chance to taste many of their best dishes. He’s also been to the Dominican Republic, Chile, Peru and was able to draw from dishes he’s been able to enjoy.
The food I tasted was delicious with spices that were quite tasty and not very spicy. Alex indicated that he’s been busy doing some graduation parties and other functions that have kept him busy.
The covered back patio was also used for children’s activities. Music from the front gallery was heard back there as well. As I returned to the front Alyssa Cox and the Flatland Band were finishing up their set.
Alyssa is a singer and songwriter whose vocals are quite pleasing. Her original songs and melodies are well accompanied by her backup vocals and band. I only caught a couple of their songs and wished I had gotten there earlier to catch more of their performance.
As I walked through the gallery I met resident artist Gary Garley who introduced me to Steve Cook (another resident artist). We talked about their current and future projects and each, as always, had something in the works.
Deborah Edward, from Mayor Kevin Johnson’s office came to the stage to say a few words. Edward is involved with the "For Arts’ Sake" initiative in Sacramento and indicated that the work being done at the event was a great example of things that should be going on around Sacramento to promote the arts.
Edward noted that she’s seen the growth of art in Sacramento and was happy to be at the Art Happens event noting the fine work the Sacramento Artists Council has been doing. “What I see when I walk around here today is artists who are established and artists who are new. We all know that art in the schools are really hard to come by today. A lot of schools in the area are not providing or are cutting back on art.” she said and again complemented the Sacramento Artists Council on their work.
After her speech Edward and I talked about the event and indicated Mayor Johnson has had a very busy schedule lately but wanted to show his support and Edward was glad to be at the function. She noted Johnson had participated in the Pride parade earlier in the day. I had also attended the parade but did not get a chance to see the Mayor. The parade and Pride event took place under a cloudy and at times rainy day.
Jaxx the 2011 Jammies winner soon took the stage to start their performance. After a quick sound check they dove into “The Unknown Return”. The talented young band from El Dorado Hills then played “March of the Elephants” a Jaxx composition.
After “Waterfall” they played Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” showcasing their guitar playing skills. From time to time one of the kids’ dads would go up to help with sound and stage as Jaxx played and enjoyed putting on a great performance. “Vagabond” an original composition came next and that song worked well with each player complementing each other and is one of their smoother and softer harmonic pieces.
“Debbie’s Rejoice” another of their original songs played to a receptive audience. The song started somewhat slow and increased in tempo to end with an energetic note. Another original composition followed as they played “Prisoner 13”. Their last scheduled song was “Tongues” another song showcasing their instrumental abilities.
As they were about to leave the stage they were told they could play some more and proceeded to play “Hey Joe”. They ended their performance by playing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”. After their last song they graciously thanked everyone for the opportunity to perform.
Susan Rabinovitz, Founder and Executive Director, Sacramento Artists Council came to the microphone and thanked Jaxx for their performance and announced other raffle winners and then introduced Fishlips.
Fishlips opened with a cover song by the Rolling Stones “Miss You”. “Crossroads” was another cover performed by Fishlips. They moved from one song to the next and in between encouraged visitors to take a look at the art and purchase something for a good cause.
I enjoyed their interpretation of Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and Should Never Be” as well as the Jimi Hendrix tune “The Wind Cries Mary”. Actually their whole repertoire was quite excellent.
After a couple of more songs that I did not recognize they played The Doors “Roadhouse Blues” and then took a break. During the break more winners were announced.
An appropriate song was performed by Fishlips after their break as they launched into Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”. My favorite cover of the night was their rendition of ZZ Top’s “La Grange”. Fishlips ended their set with their rendition of “Feeling Alright”.
Elaine Hunter was a member of last year’s winning Jammies band (One Eyed Rhyno) and was at the event to perform. As was the case with other performers and young artists she was supported by the presence of her parents and friends.
“Hello everyone I’m so happy to be here, my real name is Elaine Hunter, my stage name is Elaine Kate but what I really want to go by is Buttons del Rio.” she said and continued “I will be accompanied by Matt Swartzendruber but I would rather refer to him as Bobo (I did not get the last name).” She renamed the band since James Hunter is in London. Elaine, Matt and her brother James make up One Eyed Rhyno.
Elaine initially went on stage alone and began her performance starting off with an excellent interpretation of “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles. She followed with Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2AM)”.
This is the first time I’ve really been able to enjoy Elaine’s vocals and is the first time that I can remember not seeing her playing the drums. As part of One Eyed Rhyno she keeps rhythm for the band and it was such a delight seeing her perform and show her vocal range. Her personality and radiance makes the audience feel at ease and helps her voice draw the audience to her musical talent.
Elaine sang an original song she wrote “Some Day” and then followed with an interpretation of a Regina Spektor tune. Soon after she followed with a Corinne Bailey song “Like a Star” both which were very well done. Matt Swartzendruber sitting by her side on some songs switched back and forth between two guitars he had on stage.
In between songs Elaine noted she had walked around the gallery and liked the work and said her mom was an artist. Elaine went on to talk about a great painting her mom, Mary, had made of a cow. The audience enjoyed her description of the cow painting.
One of the first songs I ever heard Elaine sing was “Sea Of Love” by Phil Phillips, she still does a great interpretation of this classic and I was glad she sang it at this event. Matt accompanied Elaine for this last song and she mentioned that Matt was going off to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston after graduating from high school.
Currently there’s a “Sing Like Lady Gaga Competition” where the winner has a chance to meet Lady Gaga, have a sit-down with a representative from Lady Gaga’s record label and receive an autographed synthesizer. Elaine said she has entered the competition and if you log on to www.singlikeladygaga.com under the End Sacramento 107.9 tag you can help her win when you vote for her video. You can vote as many times as you want. Elaine then proceeded to play “Speechless” by Lady Gaga.
The final act was Musical Charis. I’ve seen them play several times and have yet to see the same line up twice. I’m not sure if I was around when they played their first song but I was able to enjoy “Changed” which can be found on their Electra City Church Bells EP.
Blake Abbey spoke to the audience about supporting local music and artists and helping by purchasing art. Abbey indicated they had played a show in San Francisco the previous night and Jessie Brune drove back after the show. She didn’t mind since it was, I believe she said, doughnut day and they stopped to get some coffee and a doughnut before coming back home.
Abbey introduced the next song “Big Ball” followed by “Eye Candy”. “Thank you guys for listening to us this next song is called “The Life” Abbey said introducing another song. Jessie called out “Buy art!” and Abbey emphasized that as well.
Musical Charis talked amongst themselves as to which song they should play next. I guess this type of interaction is what separates them from other bands that may have a set list and perform only the songs on the list. Musical Charis seems to improvise what songs they play. With revolving band members on stage I guess that can happen but at the same time this gives Musical Charis the charm that brings in new followers especially when they involve the audience to participate.
The song decided upon was a song written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore and recorded by Johnny Cash in ’63. That year it was number one on the Country Charts and number 17 on the pop charts. They introduced “Ring of Fire” saying, “This one was written by Johnny Cash’s wife, June.” There’s actually a great story behind the song, its meaning, about who wrote it and why.
Somewhere in the middle of the song someone forgot the lyrics and they stopped for a couple of seconds and continued to perform the song until they finished. They are so much fun to watch them play and interact with each other.
Musical Charis always has a couple of tambourines around so that audience members can join in the fun. They asked if anybody wanted to play and someone onstage pointed out Byron Tobin who usually plays the congas but was not around to join the band when they started. He took up a tambourine and joined his pals on stage for “Jezebel”.
“Tell Me”, another sweet harmony followed and then they took a break giving Shawn King and Bradley Abbey, two members from the Musical Charis School of Music a chance to take the stage and perform. They had played at the Hot Lunch Concert Series with Musical Charis on Thursday and seemed more confident as they performed a couple of songs.
Musical Charis took the stage one more time to finish off the musical entertainment for the day. By this time it almost seemed more like an intimate house party. “Anatomy” preceded a short improvisation of “Hey Jude”. They pointed out Adrian Bourgeois who was in the audience and invited him to come up on stage. Musical Charis ended the evening playing “Forward”. Musical Charis is scheduled to perform at Harlow’s on June 16.
Thus ended the 2011 Art Happens event with a cozy musical ending to a great day of art, food, wine, beer and musical entertainment. Community support allowed the two schools to raise $1000 to save their art programs. A successful event ending to a delightful day of community partnership.