North Valley Art League
● By Kimberly Boney
Jewel In the ParkSeptember 2014
By Kimberly Boney
Photos: Betsy Erickson
On a knoll just above the Redding Aquatic Center rests a little white house that might just be the best kept secret in Redding. Within walking distance of the botanical gardens, the Sacramento River Trail and the Diestelhorst Bridge, the Carter House boasts an incredible history. Built in 1942 for the Harlan Carter family, the Carter House has had the unique distinction of serving as a family residence, a miniature zoo of sorts, and a gallery, gift shop and meeting place for the North Valley Art League in its lifetime. For all of its colorful history, this little jewel has maintained some anonymity.
“It’s amazing how many people who have lived in Redding for eons don’t know that there is an art gallery here,” says Sandi Howell, president of the North Valley Art League.
The North Valley Art League, a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization founded by eight local artists in 1979, has grown to include more than 250 artists. Dedicated to the professional, educational and economic development of North State artists, the art league has created a venue for people to create, experience and purchase world-class local artwork in diverse media, including photography, painting and sculpture.
Creativity blooms in the Matson, Mowder, Howe Celebration Garden surrounding Carter House—it’s a work of art itself. In 1980, Gary Matson planted some species native to the North State, spearheading a unique collection of vegetation that would become a part of the Carter House Natural Science Museum. Carter House was turned over to the City of Redding to make way for Caldwell Park, and was later incorporated into the Turtle Bay Exploration Park. When the animals that formerly lived at Carter House were transferred to Turtle Bay, Carter House was left empty.
In June of 2003, Carter House was leased to the art league and renovated, preparing the structure for its new role as an art gallery. In 2004, North Valley Art League opened its doors to the community in its new location. Combining their passions, the art league and a group who sought to create a memorial garden for Matson, Winfield Mowder and Marcia Howe were able to salvage some of Matson's original plantings. They still remain today, along with countless new inclusions to the garden - a sweet nod to the native plant enthusiasts who had the vision so many years before.
Recognizing the significance of having a garden that is flourishing with native vegetation, The California Native Plant Society committed to assist with periodic maintenance of the garden so it will be preserved for generations to enjoy.
The North Valley Art League hosts several annual juried shows, in addition to featured member shows. The Small Painting Show begins on Sept. 2 and runs until Oct. 4. The art league welcomes new members and submissions for its juried shows from the public, hosts workshops and artist presentations, and works closely with Redding Parks and Recreation to offer children's art classes —a testament to the league's commitment to reaching out to artists of all ages and skill levels in the North State.
One of the biggest victories for the art league is what Howell calls a “revival” of Art in the Park, a special event that has taken place in Caldwell Park for years. The event has been coordinated by a few different community organizations and had dwindled in attendance, but in 2011, it found its forever home with the North Valley Art League.
Art in the Park is scheduled for Sept. 28 from 9 am to 4pm. Visitors are sure to be enchanted with original art and crafts created by members of the art league, food, activities for children, music by Shasta County’s Old Time Fiddlers, a vintage car and roaster display (put on by Rats to Riches), and, of course, the Ducky Derby.
The Ducky Derby is an annual fundraiser coordinated by the Redding East Rotary that supports substance abuse prevention and youth programs in the North State. Although the Ducky Derby is not directly affiliated with Art in the Park, the two non-profit organizations recognize the value and strength of working together to create one exciting, family friendly day in Caldwell Park.
Howell says “selfless giving” is what makes the North Valley Art League such a dynamic entity in the North State. “It’s volunteer based. People do it because they want to. We welcome new members with open arms. There is a job for everyone — a shared responsibility. And we enjoy what we can create from our work together.”
The North Valley Art League
48 Quartz Hill Road, Redding
(530) 243-1023 • nval.org