Spotlight on Sonoma: Art, Film and Fashion Return to Town

Sonoma looks different this April than it did 12 months ago.

While the town’s historic plaza remained a fixture for socially-distant outings in 2020, many of Sonoma’s businesses and venues went dark as indoor gatherings were halted in the wake of Covid-19.

Now—as vaccines stream into the North Bay—Sonoma is reopening, and several local groups and arts destinations are welcoming back visitors for safe and distanced in-person experiences.

Located a half-block from the Sonoma Historic Plaza, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art opened to the general public on April 1, after being closed for almost a year due to the pandemic.

“We are grateful to the Sonoma community for supporting the Museum through the past year,” said Linda Keaton, SVMA executive director, in a statement. “SVMA will make every effort to provide a safe, COVID-responsible environment so that visitors feel as safe as possible while they are in the Museum.”

SVMA is currently running the retrospective exhibition, “Ed Ruscha: Travel Log,” which features books, prints and photographs by the world-renowned artist who’s best known for his Pop Art. The show also displays rarely seen black-and-white photographs from Ruscha’s trips between Los Angeles and Oklahoma in the 1960s that inspired his iconic images of gas stations, diners and rural streets.

“We couldn’t be happier to open our doors again, especially with this exceptional exhibition of such a major artist,” said Keaton. (svma.org)

SVMA is also teaming with The Arts Guild of Sonoma—which is now one of the oldest continuously operating artists’ cooperatives in the state of California—and the Sonoma Plein Air Foundation for a colorful new exhibition on display at the Arts Guild of Sonoma on 140 E Napa St.

“The Many Colors of Us,” exhibiting through April 26 as part of SVMA’s Art Rewards the Student (A.R.T.S.) program, features elementary-aged artists who are exploring their culture and family in their drawings.(artsguildofsonoma.org)

Sonoma’s historic single-screen Sebastiani Theatre is another venue that’s turning the lights on for the first time in a year. On Friday, April 2, the theater reopened for screenings with several safety and distance precautions in place.

For now, the theater is limiting its capacity in accordance with local and state guidelines, and going contactless for ticketing and concessions. This means that theatergoers need to preorder tickets and snacks online before arriving. This weekend, Sebastiani Theater screens “Tom & Jerry” and “Minari,” Friday–Sunday, April 9–11. (sebastianitheatre.com)

The Sonoma Community Center, another venue returning to normal, is currently in the midst of its long-standing Trashion Fashion Week, which wraps with the virtual Trashion Fashion Show on Saturday, April 10, at 4pm.

The fashion show airs from its home at the center’s Andrews Hall, where it first premiered in 2011, and will once again feature fabulous head-to-toe outfits created out of trash and recycled materials.

“I’ve always wanted to celebrate, but demystify, the creative process that these designers experience,” said Eric Jackson, Sonoma Community Center’s creative programs manager, in a statement. “We hope our week of programming helps inspire our community.” (TrashionFashionSonoma.org)

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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