Creamery District, Arcata Playhouse Advance With Fresh Vision, Tomas Grant

The "capstone" Creamery District visioning session. KLH | Union

The "capstone" Creamery District visioning session. KLH | Union

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

CREAMERY DISTRICT – The Creamery District’s journey to selfhood took another step forward Sunday during a final visioning session at the Arcata Playhouse. Facilitated by Fawn Scheer of Greenway Partners, the “capstone” session took stock of the progress the district has made over the past two years and set a general course for further initiatives.

The theatre was festooned with colorful, hand-made posters, some of them interactive, depicting district milestones, soliciting feedback and indicating  possible future directions.

Up till now, Scheer explained, participants had assisted in ad hoc, self-selected fashion. Now, the process is mature enough for a more formal and directed approach.


A timeline of Creamery District milestones.

“We’d like to turn it into more of a membership structure,” Scheer said. “More formal in the sense that there would be intention behind who was represented, hopefully some fiscal support from members and oriented around taking projects on and making them happen.”

The results of the first, exuberant burst of energy are apparent around the district. Various forms of art dot the district’s walls and even the trees and pavement, new pavement and planters grace the Playhouse’s entrance and recent festivals drew people to the area who otherwise might never have paid a visit.

“Many of our original goals have been accomplished,” Scheer said.” We’d like to continue to make them happen.”

That, she said, would be done via newly clarified aspirations defined by participants in small groups at the Sunday afternoon gathering. As with past visioning sessions, tables had been set up for focus groups to brainstorm specific topics.

A poster graphically depicted several areas ripe for future development, including marketing, public art, advocacy, festivals and fundraising.

“The object is to identify one action they could walk out the door and take this week,” Scheer said.

Creamery co-director Jackie Dandeneau offered a quick review of the last two years of activity, including the meetings, festivals and neighborhood improvements. Roughly $100,000 in grants made all that possible, along with some $27,000 paid out to local artists.

“People are starting to know the Creamery District as a district,” Dandeneau said. “I think the momentum is great, and the next two years are about channeling that momentum into the future.” The funding is winding up. “What’s our next thing?”

Scheer said the focus groups ended up working on just two items: fundraising and advocacy. “Several ideas for projects came out of each group,” Scheer said. “The Fundraising group settled on a flea market as a way to bring people down to the district and to generate some funds for the District. The Advocacy group didn’t settle on one specific project, but a few participants resolved to begin doing outreach to the City to advocate for some street repairs and paving along N Street.”

The Creamery District Leadership Team will next meet to identify new projects that will continue to realize goals. “Key activities of this team will be to decide what options fit with the needs of the organization, especially in regards to revenue sources, membership and organizational form,” Scheer said.

Tomas Jewelry, Cremery District dignitaries plus special skeletal friends. Matt Filar | Union

Tomas Jewelry, Cremery District dignitaries plus special skeletal friends. Photo by Matt Filar | Union

Tomas Jewelry's $10,000 donation to Playhouse Arts

ARCATA – Arcata jewelry designer and manufacturer Tomas Jewelry announces a two year, $10,000 donation to the local non-profit arts organization Playhouse Arts. The funds will support the organization’s Teen Youth Program (Apprentice Entertainment), the Playhouse annual family holiday presentation, and select music events. Part of the ongoing donation will be set aside as matching funds to encourage other organizations and individuals to join Tomas in supporting the organization.

The Arcata Playhouse and Playhouse Arts are a non-profit community arts organization that houses a small performance venue in the historic Old Creamery building in Arcata. They host music, theater and film in addition to a wide array of programs that serve a variety of youth and adults in the Arcata and Humboldt community.

Creamery Co-Artistic Director David Ferney, center. Photo by Matt Filar | Union

Creamery Co-Artistic Director David Ferney, center. Photo by Matt Filar | Union

The organization recently produced the Creamery Arts Festival, which was a three-day neighborhood arts celebration in August.

Tomas Jewelry was involved with the festival with financial support and volunteer labor, and the business also hosted a large circus tent on their property that was a featured part of the event.

Tomas is an international company with a home office in Arcata. They donate over $50,000 annually in funds, product and services to local organizations in our community in support of social welfare, education, arts, environment and athletics.

Tomas is recognized as a leader in the jewelry industry and are known not only for their jewelry collections but also for their service and support. Tomas Jewelry can be found in specialty shops across the nation, as well as several leading department stores.

Tom Perrett of Tomas Jewelry, who also serves on the board of directors of Playhouse Arts states, “Something magical is brewing here. The Arcata Playhouse is the quintessential genuine article…and the Creamery district will provide a platform for a grand expansion of the benefits that the Playhouse has thus far provided to the community.”

Arcata Playhouse co-artistic director David Ferney said of the Tomas support, “We are happy to be working with the great people at Tomas. They have been really wonderful about opening up their property for the Creamery festival and getting behind our programs. It really helps our efforts with the Playhouse and in the district to have their support and we are extremely thankful for this donation and their belief in what we are doing.”


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