Editor’s note: Bring back the arts

As the pandemic wanes, hope for a return to arts-as-normal returns

This column is part of the Chico News & Review’s 2022 Arts & Music special issue.

This July, I will celebrate my 19th year working for the Chico News & Review. Before transitioning to interim editor a few months into the pandemic—and then Editor last fall—I spent my time in what we call “the back half of the book.” For most of those 17 years, I was arts editor, and to say it was a dream job would be an understatement. To my mind, what’s made Chico “Chico” during my time here is the energy supplied by the creative community, and experiencing and writing about it for a living was pretty perfect.

When the early pandemic shutdowns came in March of 2020, it was heartbreaking to witness everything that I was so intimately involved with stop at once. None of us had a clue how prolonged the pause on in-person arts would last. As much as it depresses me to think that it was two years, and that we just now have a green light for returning to “normal,” at this moment I am very happy for the venues that survived (and the new ones that were born)—as well for the the artists and patrons—that we get to celebrate with this special Arts & Music Issue while also being able to go out and enjoy some arts and music!

Back when things were shutting down—including this newspaper for a few months—I wrote that it was “acutely painful to imagine that when the plays and concerts and community events do eventually return, there’s a chance the CN&R might not be part of the moment.”

We are here, thankfully, limping forward but overjoyed to be able to be part of the moment as we shine a light on what is hopefully the beginning of Chico being “Chico” once again.

Speaking of Chico

Isn’t it too early to start thinking about Best of Chico? No! The CN&R’s annual celebration of all of Chico’s good stuff has historically been published in October, but this year we are busting it out a month early—on the first day of September!

Voting is starting May 9, a few days before the May print edition hits the stands (May 12). Keep an eye on our social media pages and at chico.newsreview.com for updates on the launch.

Props to E

Yo, E! That is my default greeting to Contributing Editor Evan Tuchinsky when we have our daily phone call each morning, and in the week before this print issue came out, it was followed more than once with: Great job on the Orme story.

On his city beat, Evan has been scooping everyone in town as he’s camped out in the middle of the City Council circus to report on the events surrounding Mark Orme’s exit as Chico city manager. The updates have been published online as the story unfolded, and the culmination, “Time’s up,” appears in the April 7 print edition.

Nice work, E!

Jason Cassidy is editor of the Chico News & Review

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