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San Benito County Art & Culture Digest

Arts Council Opens Enrollment for Summer Art Camps


Summer Art Camp allows students to try different artistic styles, mediums and techniques in a condensed workshop format. Art Camps take place at the Art Depot, located in the historic train depot in Hollister.

Furor Erupts Over 30-Year-Old Sculpture


Amid complaints that a granite sculpture in front of the county building resembles “male genitalia,” the San Benito County Board of Supervisors created an ad hoc committee to come up with a solution that may include removing the artworks completely or installing an informational plaque.

Locals Join Poppy Jasper Film Festival Lineup


The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival has been entertaining audiences across San Benito and Santa Clara counties since 2003. This year, running April 12-19, the festival will show work by four local filmmakers: Alfredo Avila, Anita Reyes, David Butterfield and Eugenia Renteria Vargas.

Caltrans Seeking Input on Hollister Project


Caltrans is engaging with the public on the sculptural concept to be installed at Hwy 25 and Meridian Street. Titled “Woven,” the geometric sculpture interlaces painted aluminum panels.

Poppy Jasper Film Festival Inspires New Beers


Five local breweries are joining in the production of variations of a Hazy IPA created to celebrate the 2023 Poppy Jasper International Film Festival. With base ingredients developed by Sean Fitzharris of San Juan Bautista’s Brewery 25 and Alex DeLeon of Hollister’s Mad Pursuit Brewing Company, each brewer will add their own touches.

Nonprofit Gives Youths a Voice Through the Arts


The children of San Benito County will have a new opportunity to express their creativity as the Silicon Valley-based nonprofit Audacity Performing Arts Project opens its doors in Hollister.

Despite Voters’ Support, Police Shortage Makes Hollister Biker Rally Unlikely


The Hollister City Council held its first discussion on Dec. 19 concerning re-establishing the July motorcycle rally after residents voted overwhelmingly last month to continue holding the rally, while also voting against changing its date.

Community Radio Station KSQD in Santa Cruz Seeks Signal Expansion


KSQD's current frequency contour stretches from Santa Cruz to Aptos. The expansion could reach audiences in Watsonville, Hollister, Prunedale, Monterey, Carmel, Salinas and beyond.

California Hall of Fame 15th Class Selected


Gov. Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom recently joined the California Museum in announcing the 15th class of inductees into the California Hall of Fame. They join 138 Californians previously inducted for embodying the state’s innovative spirit.

Music, Cannabis Festival at Laguna Seca Taking Shape


One possible feature will be a “silent disco” where attendees will wear headphones and the music will be streamed to them so the sounds won’t impact the areas surrounding Laguna Seca.

KGO 810 News-Talk Radio Replaced by Sports-Gambling Station


The 810 frequency on the AM radio dial, where, regional residents tuned in for the news of the day, has begun a new era: coverage of gambling on sports. Station owner Cumulus Media unveiled the new station on Oct. 10, with 810 AM now called “The Spread.”

Native American Activist Sacheen Littlefeather Dies at 75


Sacheen Littlefeather, the Native American actress who declined Marlon Brandon’s Oscar in 1973, has died. Littlefeather, who was Apache and Yaqui and born Nov. 14, 1946 in Salinas, died “peacefully at home” in Marin County.

Clean California Initiative to Bring Public Art to San Benito Roadways


At the Aug. 18 meeting of the Council of San Benito County Governments, directors listened to updates on Caltrans projects—one in Hollister and two in San Juan Bautista—that seek to beautify the towns through public art installations and upgraded scenery.

San Juan Bautista Library to Celebrate Local Artists and Community


Since 2018, Library Technician Lead Rochelle Eagen has been reimagining how the Carl Martin Luck Memorial Library can serve the San Juan Bautista community of 2,089 people.

Luis Valdez Talks about His New Book, and His Legacy


At home in San Juan Bautista, where he’s lived for the better part of his life, playwright Luis Valdez is working on his autobiography just after publishing the first book he’s written to describe the philosophy behind El Teatro Campesino.

Arts Council Seeking Grant Applicants


The San Benito County Arts Council welcomes artists and arts organizations to apply for the Arts Express Grant Program. Application deadline is June 17.

Local Filmmakers Show Work at 2022 Poppy Jasper Festival


XeroCuadro Studio, a new film production company of veteran artists from San Juan Bautista’s famed El Teatro Campesino, have created “Kumite,” a film directed by Cristal Avila and written by Ray Rios, who plays both Johnny and Frank in the two-character film.

New Community Art Space Opening Soon


The Art Depot will be replacing San Benito's Art Space Annex in January, with the new space offering learning opportunities, events and more.

San Benito Stage Company Hopes for November Performances


Following a COVID-19 exposure that shut things down, San Benito Stage Company is anticipating holding early November performances of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” with local youth.

Northern California Renaissance Fair in Full Swing


Bay Area residents from all over the region are traveling to Casa de Fruta to experience the Northern California Renaissance Fair.

Open Studios Art Tour Comes to San Benito County


On Sept. 3, the San Benito County Arts Council begins a three-weekend preview exhibition in Hollister prior to the 2021 countywide Open Studios Art Tour.

Local Artist Mounts Her First Show Since the Shutdown


With her first pop-up art show in 18 months, artist Cindy Couling is excited to be showing her work to the public. Couling will be at Vertigo Coffee Roasters in San Juan Bautista on Aug. 28, one of a series of rotating weekend shows.

‘We Started This Years Ago During a Terrible Drought”


For the third Sunday in a row, Native American Elder Laynee Reyna and her husband, Sonne Reyna, were at the plaza in front of Mission San Juan Bautista, encouraging passersby to join them in performing a rain dance.

Farmhouse Cafe Owner Becky Herbert Opens a New Chapter


Take a peek inside Farmhouse Cafe in Hollister and it’s clear some notable changes were made since it reopened two months ago. Customers will now find books, local art and gifts for sale at the entrance.

Youth Alliance Gets a Public Art Makeover


A new mural soon will enhance the Youth Alliance’s building, a collaborative project under the leadership of artist Victoria Murray and funded in part by the California Arts Council Youth.