Art History

Woodland Opera House opens all youth performances, new exhibition Gallery 625 | Pro Club Bd

Based on the Broadway musical that still moves audiences, Woodland Opera House’s Godspell JR offers a timeless tale of friendship, loyalty and love.

According to a Woodland Opera House press release, the show follows a group of disciples as they help Jesus Christ tell various parables, using a variety of plays, storytelling techniques and a hefty dose of comedic timing. With chart-toppers ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, Jesus’ life and messages of kindness and tolerance dance across the stage.

This production is performed by an all youth cast aged 11 to 18 years. Godspell JR opens at the Woodland Opera House at 340 Second St. on August 13th and runs through August 27th.

All seats are reserved. Tickets include: adults $16, seniors (62+) $14, children under 17 $8, adults with balcony $10 and children with balcony $6.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit…/godspell2022-woodland-woodland…. Tickets are also available at the box office or by calling (530) 666-9617.

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Woodland’s Gallery 625 will host a new exhibition by a retired university professor who has curated his love for Cuba and its art and artists.

‘Retro Cuba’, which offers a glimpse into life and what it means to the island nation, will open with a reception at 5:30pm on Friday 6 August.

Artists featured on the show include Francisco J. Rivero and Roberto Salas, who live in Cuba, and Jose R. Ramirez and Jorge A. Santana, California artists.

Santana, the show’s curator, is a retired professor from the state of Sacramento, where he taught Hispanic language and culture for forty years. He says he retired to start his “creative phase” and is pursuing his lifelong passion for photography. Having led over fifty travel study groups abroad, Santana always travels with a camera in hand. His photos in this exhibit were taken during Sacramento State study trips to Cuba in 2012 and a recent trip in April 2022.

“This is not an art photography approach, but rather a social documentary look at contemporary Cuba and Cubans as they struggle to survive in a country that faces many limitations and restrictions,” Santana explained. “Perhaps the photo series can be viewed as an ethnographic exhibition of life on the verge of dramatic change.”

Santana met the artists Rivero and Salas on his trips to Cuba.

Over the past 50 years, Salas has worked in many photographic forms, including photojournalism, advertising, documentary and war correspondence. The twelve images on display at Retro Cuba from Salas pay homage to animal husbandry and agriculture in a country where food is in short supply, in large part due to the lockdown. They are part of a larger series Such are the Cubans, which forms a quest for a visual study of Cuban identity.

Rivero was born in Cardenas, Cuba, in 1955, and it was there that exhibition curator Santana first met the painter after seeing his work in an art gallery. Rivero’s first works were murals used by the Revolution to embellish public buildings such as hospitals and schools, and murals highlighting some of the social and educational achievements of the Revolution. With the easing of restrictions, Cuban artists have been allowed to venture into their own creation and sale of artworks.

Ramirez lives in the Bay Area and Jalisco, Mexico. He began photography at the age of 16 when he traded landscape shots for a camera. He says his photography has gone through many phases – after trying travel, wedding, landscape and manipulation or composite photography, he has now “found my true passion in street photography”.

Ramirez has traveled to Cuba many times since the late 1980’s and enjoys the culture, people, music and history and has many friends and family members there. The urban photos in the show capture moments in Cuba.

Santana will attend the opening reception on August 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., coinciding with Woodland’s first Friday event downtown. At 6:30 p.m. Santana will give a talk about his friendship with Rivero and Ramirez and his academic and artistic connections to these artists. Rick Swig, a friend of photographer Salas, will talk about his friendship with Salas and the importance of his photography.

Tropical Latino music is played courtesy of guitarist Emanual Pailes and light refreshments are also available.

The artwork can also be viewed (and purchased) online at

Retro Cuba continues through October 4 at Gallery 625 at 625 Court St. in Woodland at Yolo County’s Erwin Meier Administration Building.

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The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis has a new exhibit entitled “Young, Gifted and Black” from the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi family’s contemporary art collection.

Nearly 50 artists of African descent feature in this traveling exhibition as they explore identity, politics and art history through a variety of mediums. The exhibit is on view at the museum at 254 Old Davis Rd. through December 19.

Center Stage is a column exploring the arts in and around Yolo County.

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