On Friday, April 18,Yuba College art students gathered in Downtown Yuba City to paint the town-literally. The “Swing into Spring” art event on Plumas Street began at 5 p.m. under a clear sunny sky and concluded at 9 p.m. that evening. Former and current students displayed their works in small displays along the street and in sponsoring stores. The event featured much more than art displays. With comedy and acting entertainment provided by The Acting Company, music and dancing in the street, free popcorn and cotton candy, the free mural wall and Sidewalk Chalk, the event drew crowds of all ages.
Samantha Ramsey, a Yuba City resident and former Yuba College student, said, “This event is a lot of fun, because not only is there so much to look at and do, but it’s all free.” Outside on the streets, children of all ages were invited to paint on a free mural and participate in Sidewalk Chalk. Julia Peasley, age 8, said, “I am having fun. I got to paint and do a whole bunch of different stuff. I drew flowers; I said I loved Jesus; then I drew my mom, my dad and a clown face.” She also spoke of her future contributions to the art world as a painter when she grows up.
Over at the Sidewalk Chalk, Yuba College freshman Elyse Davis jumped right in with the kids, saying, “I had no idea about this event. We played with chalk because it’s one of my favorite things to do. It is so much fun. When I have kids, I am going to play with a lot of chalk because I still love to now.” Many of the stores owners along Plumas Street were enthusiastic to be involved in such an event. The garden accessory shop ‘Hello Gardener!’ featured two Yuba College students works and both students spoke highly of the opportunity to showcase their work to the general public.
“I have photographs of California, New Mexico and New Hampshire,” said Joseph McLeod, a returning student. “I signed up for the ‘Swing into Spring’ as a member of the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council because I received a flyer announcing the displays coming up, so I filled it out and I ended up here.”
“I have gotten a lot positive feedback for my display; it’s very nice. A lot of the people coming in are just in awe of the art itself,” continued McLeod. The other student, whose display was located in the same store, described to groups how she completed her works. Cindy Gavin, an art student who accredits her involvement of printmaking to instructor Sara Sealander, says about her printmaking, “It’s time-consuming and really intricate.”
She described how the many aspects of printmaking fascinated her because of all the details. “I am delighted Sara (Sealander) submitted my name. I had a large body of work, and she knew I would frame it for display. This is fun; I have enjoyed myself immensely!” The manager of ‘Hello Gardener!’ spoke highly of the event, noticing the increased flow of traffic. “Often times we do this to showcase our business, and the people come back,” said Nancy Balkowitsch. If the event were to happen again, she said without hesitation, “I would absolutely do it again. I would take 3 or 4 artists.” Free food was provided while people enjoyed the displays in various stores. In McNally Appliances, where Darlene Cowles’ and Linda Andrade’s pieces of art were showcased, fresh chocolate chip cookies were baked in one of the store’s ovens and handed out with ice-cold lemonade. At Java Retreat, Professor Rick Murai’s photography students brought treats to share with the crowd, ranging from spinach dip and fresh salsas to deli platters and vegetable trays. One student, according to Murai, even sold a photo that was on display to a passerby. The event was hailed by all as a wonderful success, despite the smaller-than-expected crowd. Balkowitsch summed up the night: “Loads of people, lots of fun and a great crowd.”