The Mad River Industrial Art Park


Funding Received: 2013
Blue Lake, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
August 26, 2013

Update and Reflections 

We have purchased a large "big-top” style tent for the Mad River Industrial Artpark. Currently, it is being delivered to the Arcata Playhouse for their own place-making initiative The Creamery District Festival (more on that below).

This tent is huge and we are excited to see how it will impact our MADRAP initiative as it will add an alternative performance venue that is versatile, mobile, colorful, and non-traditional for our community. We are the only owners of such a tent in our rural area - the purchase of the tent has already sparked many conversations amongst community groups interested in utilizing it for their own events.

August has been a 'visioning' month after a very busy June and July with our annual Mad River Festival. This month we are back at the drawing board: we are throwing around big and small ideas and we are researching other Art and Place initiatives around the country in order to best shape our own. Major internal meetings are taking place in order to launch the beginning of Dell'Arte's school year and production season in coordination with the year+ of Artplace activities at the MADRAP.

A community-wide meeting is planned for September 18th to explain the scope of the project to Blue Lake residents and to get their input and ideas.

The Mad River Alliance is planning for their inaugural "Fish Derby." This has been proposed for a March event taking place in the Mad River and in conjunction with the Mad River Industrial Artpark. Planning is full tilt, headed by the Blue Lake Rancheria and the Mad River Alliance.

Dell'Arte will begin weekly meetings with Jane Hill, a development advisor who will help us focus on long-term planning and development strategies to keep the Mad River Industrial Artpark active for many years to come.

As part of our Artplace grant we were able to hire a Community Coordinator to help us manage the MADRAP initiative and develop community partnerships and collaborations that will extend beyond the terms of the grant.

Recent Wins

Dell’Arte received a "Creating Places of Vitality" grant from the California Arts Council for " LIVE on the Levee," an inaugural KICK-off Community Block Party to happen at the Mad River Industrial Art Park and along the Mad River in October of 2013.

The Mad River Brewery  and Blue Lake received a great write-up in the San Francisco Chronicle :

Hat's Off Creamery District!  We are proud to be part of a community of art-place-makers in this small rural northern California county -- this month we will support the Creamery District Festival, a place-making initiative begun by the Arcata Playhouse and their partners in Arcata (7 miles from Blue Lake) who received the National Endowment for the Arts 'Our Town' grant and have been in conversation with community partners, architects, and visionaries for more than two years to re-envision the area as an arts district. Dell' Arte is supporting the festival as a sponsor by lending our new big-top tent as well as lighting equipment and other supplies. More information about this festival can be found here:


Some questions on our minds: What is success? How do we retain the rural and unique nature of Blue Lake without turning it into a tourist trap? How do we retain the quirky nature of the town and help expand the tourism to the area? Is all tourism good?  Should we be focusing on increasing local tourism to Blue Lake from our neighboring communities, or on regional tourism focusing on our position equidistant between the cultural centers of San Francisco and Portland, or on national attention focusing on the national and international impact of many of our artisanal industries who are beginning to flourish out of our rural, Blue Lake, base?