The Mad River Industrial Art Park


Funding Received: 2013
Blue Lake, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
December 24, 2013

The Dell'Arte Kindergarten Show; photo by Janessa Johnsrude

This month we have been preparing for four major events that will occur in January 2014:

One: Dell’Arte International celebrates its 40th anniversary. Plans are underway to create a celebration party which honors 40 donors, founders, and important people in Dell’Arte’s history. Also, we are laying plans to have a major alumni reunion during the summer 2015 Mad River Festival that will bring alumni theatre companies that now perform, teach and live all over the world back to Blue Lake.

Two: We announce the local winners of the Blue Lake Rising Mini-grants on January 25th. Ten community members will be chosen. In December, we created the community panel out of a cross section of community residents and representatives.

Three: On Jan. 16, we present SPEED DATING, a co-created project with the City of Blue Lake, Humboldt Made (a member organization for Humboldt artisan businesses), the Blue Lake Art Park, and Dell’Arte. We received a matching grant from the Headwaters Foundation to create a ‘meet and greet’ between developers, small artisan business owners and the City of Blue Lake, which have 7 open plots of land in the business park. We have commissioned architect Kash Boodjeh to create a rendering of the possibilities for an artisan developed business park incubator. The event will take place at the Mad River Brewery, with entertainment provided by Dell’Arte.

Four: Plans are underway for the fist annual “Steelhead Days” in partnership with the Mad River Alliance, the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel, and other partners. This three-week competition will raise funds for the MRA’s education programs and raise visibility of the Mad River and Blue Lake as a destination location.


The kick-off event will happen on Jan. 25th only three blocks from the Mad River at the Blue Lake Business Park. We have combined forces with Mad River Brewery ‘s “Great Chile Cook-Off “ event and will open the Dell’Arte studios at the business park for a fish-themed family day that will include workshops in casting and catching steelhead, games, crafts, and artisan tables. The event will welcome families signing in for the three-week fishing competition on the Mad River. In the evening, at 7 p.m., Dell’Arte will host a family-friendly fish themed variety show, with live music, acts, comedy and storytelling.

Other updates:
-- The Blue Lake ArtPlace News: we have begun monthly e-newsletter about Artplace activities.
-- We have received some great survey responses from our participating partners for Harvest Days that will help us shape future programs.
-- After many years, we are establishing formal and friendly contact with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a great networking opportunity for our artists and our growing Mad River Festival.
-- We have formally joined Humboldt Made, a local artisan business consortium, and continue to open the discussion with them about how performance-based businesses such as theatre can become better represented in the organization as economic drivers in our region.
-- The 33rd annual family-friendly Dell’Arte Holiday Show has reached over 7,000 families in underserved regions up and down the North Coast this month.
-- The Dell’Arte Kindergarten show (a partnership with Blue Lake Elementary School) had two performances at the Dell’Arte Carlo Theatre in which 22 kindergarteners created and performed an original show from scratch. They performed for enthusiastic family members, friends, and fellow students.

Recent Wins
Promotion for upcoming Steelhead Days:

We have found continued negotiations are important with our main partners about the practical aspects of the partnership. While everyone is still aligned around the goals of this project and intentions are all good, clarity about what exactly it means to be “in partnership” can be muddy, particularly as it relates to allocations of time and money. We have also realized that in our small community there is not a simple and clear-cut mechanism to receive city permitting for the cross-sector community events we have and are planning. We are beginning to understand that part of our partnership with the city will need to be in the area of helping our city to make this process (zoning ordinances, special event and encroachment permits) more streamlined and doable for people and organizations to be able to effectively plan collaboratively. Cross-sector partners are good at what they do and you are good at what you do—it is a powerful combination to know your strengths and dare to collaborate on an expanded vision for what is possible in your area.