More Festival of the Arts preview videos:

"The Producers" creates song and dance magic

"Traditions Transfigured: The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi"



Sacramento State’s Arts Experience is bursting with performances, exhibits, presentations, and interactive art projects as the annual Festival of the Arts (FoTA) returns April 13-17 (

Enjoy a street faire. Learn how to make Japanese masks. Experience the best of Sacramento’s modern dance community. And learn about the biggest con game ever to hit Broadway. That’s just a taste of what to expect during FoTA’s five-day run.

The annual event is Sac State’s way of enhancing and contributing to the arts scene of Sacramento.

Dean Edward Inch of the College of Arts and Letters says FoTA has a twofold purpose: “The Festival of the Arts is a celebration of the arts and creativity that our faculty and students are able to do together, but it’s also a chance to showcase the relationships and partnerships we have with our community.”

FoTA covers nearly every corner of the campus, and beyond. Here’s a sample of what to expect.


U-CreateThis year’s U-Create! street faire is April 14 at Seventh and S streets. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Last year’s popular U-Create! street faire returns to showcase the research and artistic endeavors of our faculty and students. It will feature live music, dance performances, student readings, and interactive offerings.

The soiree runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Seventh and S streets in downtown Sacramento. It will include a street closure where merrymakers can enjoy offerings by SactoMoFo food trucks while listening to live music. Verge Center for the Arts, Axis Gallery, Beatnik Studios, and Insight Coffee Roasters will host more music performances, exhibits, and presentations. There’s most likely also to be a surprise or two in the form of performance art presentations.

Admission to U-Create! and the galleries is free.

The Producers

A desperate impresario and his accountant protégé come up with a surefire way to make money on Broadway: produce the biggest flop of a musical ever to grace the Great White Way and keep all the money when it fails. But what happens when that flop turns out to be a huge success?

"The Producers"Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock (Nick Micheels and Alexander Bailey) meet Franz Liebkind (Zane Boyer) in The Producers. (Sacramento State/Craig Koscho)

Mel Brooks turned his acclaimed movie into an acclaimed stage musical, which will be presented at Sac State’s University Theatre. Directed by Theatre and Dance Professor Ed Brazo, The Producers will have performances at 8 p.m. April 13-16 and 22-23; 6:30 p.m. April 20-21; and 2 p.m. April 16, 17, and 24.

The play has music, big production numbers, and the absurd humor Brooks has displayed in movies such as Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

“We’d been thinking of doing this musical for a couple of years. It was just time for a really big comedy,” Brazo says. “And the students are having such a great time with it.”

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. performances are $10 general. All other performances are $15 general, $12 for seniors and students. Parental discretion is advised due to content and language.

Sacramento Dance Sampler 2016

This spring, the sixth annual dance concert that features individual works from professional dance companies across the region goes "unplugged" and distills dance down to its essentials. The concert, created by Professor Lorelei Bayne, is at 2 and 7 p.m. April 16-17 in Solano Hall Dancespace. Participants include CORE Contemporary Dance, Two Point 4 Dance Theatre, Sacramento/Black Art of Dance, Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre, Hijinx, and many more.

Tickets are $10 for everyone.

Masks and more

"Traditions Transfigured: The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi” continues its run at the University Library Gallery with a number of related events. Yamaguchi has taken the subjects from famous classical portraits, such as the Mona Lisa, and turned them into haunting three-dimensional masks. During the festival, curator Ken Brown will give a lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, and then join Yamaguchi for a lecture at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 14. Yamaguchi also will present workshops at the gallery where participants can learn to make masks in the Japanese Noh Theater tradition. The workshops will be held at the gallery April 15-17.

“Noh-Kyogen Now” is a lecture by the San Francisco-based nonprofit theater company Theatre of Yugen at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 13, at the gallery. The company will introduce the audience to the costumes, characters, and movements of the Noh and Kyogen stage.

Collector Steve McLeod will give a lecture at 2 p.m. Friday, April 15.

All of the gallery events are free.

PicklesAn exhibit of "Pickles" includes a talk by creator Brian Crane. (Image courtesy of Brian Crane)

Funny pages on campus

Comic strip writer and artist Brian Crane is “Still Pickled After All These Years.” The creator of the popular Pickles comic strip will have an exhibit of his work at Sac State’s Design Gallery (Mariposa Hall 4000), open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, April 11-28. Crane will give a special presentation and have a reception at 6 p.m. Friday, April 15, in Mariposa 1000. The exhibit and presentation are free.

Art History

The 12th annual Art History Symposium will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in Mariposa Hall 1000. This year’s topic is “Hers & Hers: Women as Artists, Clients, and Consumers,” and focuses on art and artists of the 16th through 18th centuries. The keynote speaker is Italian Art Society President Sheryl E. Reiss, whose address is “Noble Exemplars of Their Sex: Tomb Monuments Commissioned for and by Women during the Italian Renaissance.” Presentations also will be made by Catherine Turrill Lupi, Angela Oberer, and Sandra Gómez Todó.

The event is free, and refreshments will be provided.

TanakaMisuzu Tanaka closes out the spring Piano Series. (Photo by Denis Gostev)

Piano Series

Misuzu Tanaka finishes out the series’ season with a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in the Capistrano Concert Hall. Tanaka has been described as having a rare combination of poetic sensitivity and breathtaking virtuosity. Tickets are $20 general, $15 for seniors and students.

A family affair

FoTA closes Sunday, April 17, with the festival’s traditional Family Funday. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is a full schedule of events for all ages, such as mask and pottery making, games and giveaways, a musical petting zoo, and a sketch comedy performance at the Studio Theatre at noon.

Admission and parking (in Parking Structure II) are free.

These are just a few of the many events taking place during the Festival of the Arts. For a complete list, visit the festival website. For tickets to the fee-based attractions, go to the University Ticket Office, call (916) 278-4323, or visit – Craig Koscho