Culture Crush: Local Groups Mark a Year of Distanced and Virtual Events

It’s been a full year since the Covid-19 pandemic forced locals to isolate and events to go online or stay socially distant. This week, several groups keep the distancing going even as some venues begin reopening. Here’s a roundup of what’s coming up.

Virtual Exhibit

Over the past year, as California State University campuses and their art galleries have largely shut their doors to in-person classes and events due to Covid-19, the artists who are on faculty in the CSU system have continued to teach and create. This month, the University Art Gallery at Sonoma State University celebrates these at-home art educators in the online exhibition, “Art @ CSU.” On display through April 18, the show boasts dynamic and creative work from nearly 20 artists working in the CSU system, and the art ranges from painting, printmaking and photography to sculpture, ceramics, digital and time-based arts. Visit the University Art Galleries online exhibit at Artgallery.sonoma.edu.

Distanced Shopping

Located in the heart of Napa Valley, the exceedingly walkable town of Yountville is packed with Michelin-starred restaurants, Napa Valley wineries, luxury retailers and other celebrated offerings. This weekend, members of the public can park their cars and take a stroll to enjoy the first-ever Yountville Sidewalk Cellar Sale. Over 10 Yountville wineries and retailers will offer exclusive savings, including Handwritten Wines, Heron House, Hestan Vineyards, Hill Family Estate, Hope & Grace Wines, JCB Collection, Jessup Cellars and Priest Ranch Wines. Stock up on your cellar and enjoy some Napa Valley charm on Sunday, March 28, from 10am to 2pm. For more information, visit Yountville.com/events.

Virtual Show

When Covid-19 forced Novato resident Claire Hennessy to shelter-in-place, she joined forces with Regina Stoops of Pleasanton to form the online storytelling show Six Feet Apart Productions. So far, the pair has put on more than 30 shows featuring a mix of stories and storytellers who range from well-known professionals to first-time performers. Six Feet Apart Productions promotes diverse voices from varied backgrounds and puts a spotlight on important events and social issues such as June Pride and Black Lives Matter. Now, Six Feet Apart Productions presents a one-year anniversary show streaming for free on Monday, March 29, at 6pm. SFAPshows.com.

Virtual Reading

Last month, Sonoma County Library launched the online Read BIPOC Book Club to virtually discuss books by authors who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color. Led by the local librarians, the club meets the last Tuesday of every month through November to talk about a different book. This month’s book is the 2017 novel Exit West by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, which deals with themes of emigration and refugee issues and which is available as an eBook, eAudiobook and in print. Join the Read BIPOC Book Club on Tuesday, March 30, at 6pm. Free. Registration required; call your local Sonoma County Library branch or register online at Sonomalibrary.org.

Virtual Exhibit

While Mill Valley’s O’Hanlon Center for the Arts hopes to be able to get together in small groups by this summer, the gallery’s hybrid of alternating in-gallery and online exhibitions is working well for local art lovers. Currently, the center is hosting a virtual exhibition, “My American Experience,” featuring several artists from across the country. Works include “Click Here to Unsubscribe to European Beauty Standards,” by Nigeria-born and Dallas-based artist Abi Salami (pictured) and “Dalili the Doctor” by Los Angeles artist and screenwriter Mark Landry. See all the art online now through April 30 at Ohanloncenter.org.

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Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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