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The View Up North

The Museum of Northern California (MONCA) is a nearly decade-long vision finally given life in April 2017. The people behind the museum never hid the broad-based ambition behind their dream. Even though they’re focused on northern California art, their moves are bold and decisive when it comes to pulling resources and planning exhibitions. They want nothing less than a haven for art that serves the region. To that end, they’ve been willing to take chances and go outside the convention. That determination paved the way to the grand opening of the museum, even when that path meant taking their show on the road or having an all-out feud with one of their founding contributors.

Museum of Northern California (MONCA)

MONCA started when people like board president Pat Macias and current board member David Hopper came together to realize the dream of a fully formed museum. They teamed with other Chico, California residents and enlisted the aid of the county for fundraising and housing. A disused (but historical) meeting place for veterans became the chosen space to house the museum. The planners raised thousands of dollars and attracted the talents of noteworthy individuals. Among these were David Griffith, an award-winning Chico-based architect, and Reed Applegate, an art collector with forty years of acquisitions and over four hundred pieces.

As the MONCA founders secured the lease to the old veteran’s meeting spot, Griffith designed a beautiful facility. Butte County rented the building to MONCA for twenty years (at a mere dollar a year). Most importantly, Reed Applegate agreed to donate his collection, as a founding acquisition.

To raise money, the founders hosted several events on the road throughout the region. They traveled by van and held workshops and exhibits. They secured enough interest and funds to set a 2017 opening date. Along the way, there was a falling out with Applegate. Moreover, there were several problems with the structure of the old veteran’s building. These difficulties only led to a strengthening of the museum’s commitment to art and culture for the sake of community enjoyment. They opened on time, and with a firm dedication to presenting rich artistic offerings to the public. Today MONCA is a vibrant, inviting place, with weekly events and guest appearances by artists and art works from a variety of disciplines.

See directions here:

The Museum of Northern California Art

900 Esplanade, Chico, CA 95926, USA


Head northwest on Esplanade toward W Sacramento Ave

0.1 mi


Turn right onto E 1st Ave

1.4 mi


Turn right to stay on E 1st Ave

0.4 mi


Turn right onto Verbena Ln

0.1 mi


Turn left onto Hawthorne Ave

0.1 mi


Turn right onto Wayne Ln

!Destination will be on the right

285 ft


713 Wayne Ln

Chico, CA 95926, USA

Image Credit: monca.org

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