The Mad River Industrial Art Park


Funding Received: 2013
Blue Lake, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
March 17, 2014

Steelhead Days tent and sign; photo Meghan Frank

On January 25th, Dell’Arte proudly announced the winners of the Blue Lake Rising mini-grants. In a special presentation as part of a larger community event “Steelhead Days,” Mark Lovelace, County Supervisor, announced the awards to the crowd.

Ten grants were chosen out of many applications, decided by a community panel of volunteers. All of the projects are to be completed by July 31st, 2014, during the 2014 Mad River Festival. The City of Blue Lake is partnering with Dell’Arte in order to waive permit fees for the project winners.

Congrats to all the winners and many thanks to those that did not win this year, but put forth their great ideas and creative spirit in envisioning a better Blue Lake. We look forward already to the 2015 grant cycle.

The Winners:
-- Anson Smith: Stilts, Acrobatics, and Spectacle Theatre for 5-8 grade at Blue Lake School ASES afterschool program with a final free performance open to the public.

-- Artie Skeeter: A bicycle tire inflator station in front of Chumayo Spa in downtown Blue Lake.

-- Barbara Browning: “Creating Order to Create,” an organization workshop for creative individuals.

-- Blue Lake Education Foundation: a public garbage can decorating project with Blue Lake School.

-- Blue Lake Museum: Keith and Mariel Morison will create a bench of Japanese design in the garden on the corner of Railroad and G streets.

-- Blue Lake Parks and Rec: to commission a mural inside Prasch Hall.

-- Joshua Krienke: summer percussion camp for kids with a final presentation at the 2014 Mad River Festival. As an award winner under the age of 18, his sponsor is his drum teacher, Jesse Jonathon.

-- Mad River Old Crows: to build a park bench on Blue Lake trail at Taylor Way in the Blue Lake Industrial Park.

-- Margo Whitcomb: “Center of the Universe" manhole cover at the intersection of H St. in Downtown Blue Lake.

-- Patronus: to create a music video called “Sounds of Our Town.” This includes a procession though Blue Lake and incorporates Blue Lake landmarks and its residents.

Dell’Arte, in collaboration with the Mad River Alliance, presented a kick-off day for the first “Steelhead Days” on Jan. 25th at the Blue Lake Business Park, only three blocks from the Mad River. The Mad River Alliance is an “association of Humboldt County, California community members organized to protect clean water and the ecological integrity of the Mad River watershed for the benefit of its human and natural communities.”

Info Room Steelhead Days Photo Jacob Pounds

Information Room at Steelhead Days; photo Jacob Pounds

The hope is to have a Steelhead celebration every year, and this was a good first year. We learned a lot and partnered across sectors, utilized our studios in the Art Park to host the kick-off day, and cross-promoted with the Brewery, which was hosting a Chile Cook-off fundraiser for another organization.

The day included workshops in rigging a fishing line, fish-themed games, crafts, an interactive shadow project for kids, and information booths for six local groups, including:

-- North Coast Environmental Center

-- Friends of the Eel River

-- Humboldt Wildlife Care Center

-- National Marine Fisheries Services

-- Friend of the Dunes

-- Mad River Alliance

-- Dell’Arte International

At 7 p.m., Dell’Arte hosted a fish themed variety show with live music, acts, comedy and storytelling for the whole family. Professional performers, students, community members, and musicians all shared the stage for a memorable, sold-out evening.

Fish Songs 4 Steelhead Days 2014 Carol Eckstein

Fish Songs at Steelhead Days 2014; photo by  Carol Eckstein

The entire event was a two week fishing contest with daily prizes and a final award ceremony at the Blue Lake Casino, with keynote speakers Wiyot Tribal Leader Cheryl Seider and Mitch Farro, North Coast Fisheries Restoration Expert.

The goals of Steelhead Days were to boost tourism in Blue Lake, to disseminate education about the Mad River Watershed, celebrate the annual Steelhead Run( where once a year, the steelhead travel upriver to have their babies), and to encourage conversation between commercial fisherman, environmental groups, and the public.

We got a lot of promotion, have developed a great relationship with the Mad River Alliance and are looking forward to the future. Proceeds for the evening went to the Mad River Alliance education programs for children.

Recent Wins
Steelhead Days Pictures:

Many times, you want to do it ALL! But we have learned that the process of growth, expansion, and seeing results can be an incremental process which gains in momentum over time. Being able to understand where you are currently and picking priorities is important. Sometime small changes, although not yielding immediate results, help the big picture over time—stepping stones.