photo by Steve Hammons

The tiny former logging town of Blue Lake rests near the banks of the Mad River off Hwy 299. Blue Lake is home to a surprising number of artists, musicians, writers and actors. At the center of its art community is Dell’Arte International, a world-famous school of physical theatre. Dell’Arte presents performances at various venues throughout the year with the summer’s Mad River Festival being the highlight of their season. This month-long extravaganza brings together performers and audiences from “around the world and down the block” for theatre, stories, clowning and music. It culminates with The Blue Lake Pageant, an event where dancers, musicians and masked participants take to the streets accompanied by gigantic puppets in an energetic spirit of creativity and celebration.

Also along Hwy 299 and along the banks of the Trinity River sits Willow Creek, a delightful place to stop for a cup of coffee and enjoy the ambiance of a rural community with a distinct and evergrowing art scene. Willow Creek’s Studio 299 Center for the Arts is a non-profit community organization devoted to the promotion and development of the arts in the area. Studio 299 offers artists a place to gather, and a way to share their work with the community at events such as the Taste of Willow Creek, the Art Walk in Willow Creek, Willow Creek’s Arts Alive! and the Willow Creek Farmers’ Market. The organization provides support for a wide variety of local artists, and is a sustaining resource for the community and the arts on the 299 corridor of Humboldt and Trinity Counties.

An excursion inland devoted to arts and culture must also include the art created by Native American tribes of the region. The Hoopa Tribal Museum, located up Hwy 96 on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, is dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich cultural history and artistic practices of Native Americans of Northern California. The museum displays one of the finest collections of Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk artifacts in Northern California. Their collection includes a fine display of local Indian basketry, ceremonial regalia, dugout canoes, tools and implements used by the tribes.

Outside Humboldt County, Trinity County also has a lot to offer any art aficionado. With art organizations including the Highland Art Center and Trinity County Arts Council in Weaverville, as well as the Artist Resource Center, the Rural Arts Guild and Gallery, and Our Town Crafters and Artist Association in Hayfork, there is a lot of support and promotion of art in the area. With theatres, galleries, workshops and more there is ample reason to go to Trinity County to enjoy the arts.