Why I Love Chico
Pat Macias is President of the Board for the Museum of Northern California Art (monca), Chico’s first art museum. As President, her days are filled with details concerning the operation of monca. Prior to her tenure at monca, Macias was an art educator for over 30 years in Ann Arbor, Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; and Piedmont, California. Her previous roles include Director of the State Street Art Fair in Ann Arbor, Education Director at Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, and Director of 1078 Gallery in Chico.
How did you find yourself in Chico? What made you stay?
After retiring from the Bay Area, I moved to Chico with my husband Richard, finding a less stressful but still cultural place to plant our roots for the last time. It has a vibrant art scene and offers a very comfortable family-oriented community. It reminds us a lot of Ann Arbor with the university, a great art scene, 12 museums, and a farmers market.
Describe Chico to someone who has never been here
Chico is conscious of healthy living for both mind and body...using the outdoors for exercise, growing fresh foods, offering a diversity of cultural events. We are GRUB CSA members and love receiving the freshest produce from such friendly farmers!
What is the best-kept secret in Chico? Why?
The best kept secret are the great restaurants that cater to all cultures. Some of my cultural favorites are La Perla Taqueria for fresh, authentic Mexican. Because I don’t eat red meat, I favor Om Foods [now Om on the Range] for flavorful vegetarian cuisine, Tender Loving Coffee for their Beyond Meat burger, and sushi from Big Tuna and their sister location, Izakaya Ichiban, and Aomami. Fine dining takes us to Red Tavern or Grana, where we can relax on their patios and see familiar faces.
What is your favorite season in Chico? Why?
My favorite season is summer/fall because of the chance to spend so much time outdoors and taking advantage of the long days as much as possible. Taking daily walks, watching the fall leaves turn and getting ready to celebrate the holidays are things that make me glad I am in Chico.
What are your favorite places in Chico to show out-of-town visitors?
My favorite place to show out of town visitors is of course monca! The museum which is open Thursday-Sunday from 11-5 features exhibitions of Northern California artists all the way to San Jose that change approximately every two months. monca engages the entire community in street parties, a traditional New Year’s Eve party, and events that accompany each exhibition. Along with that is all the public art as one walks around town. Coming upon murals, sculptures and art benches is always a surprise.
If someone only had one day to spend in Chico, what would you recommend they do?
One day to spend in Chico has to be visits to as many of the 12 museums that exist to educate, intrigue and entertain visitors. Although they seem spread out, they do provide many different ways to observe the world through art, science, history.