Performing and Visual Arts


Part of any university experience of quality is the cultural richness provided by its performing and visual arts. Whether enthusiastic novices or serious pre-professionals, students will find an enormous array of artistic choices. The School of the Arts subscribes to a philosophy which seeks a balance between theory and practice, and we are justifiably proud of the large number of working artists among our faculty. Chico's reputation as an artistic center in Northern California is the result of the collective commitment by faculty, alumni, administration, and student-artists to the highest standards in every facet of the artistic experience. Though first-rate facilities help, our large appreciative audiences know that quality in the arts resides within the talent of the individual and the dedication of the ensemble.

Performance Facilities

The home of performance at Chico is the Performing Arts Center, which houses the 500-seat Harlen Adams Theatre, the 200-seat Larry Wismer Theatre, and the 200-seat Ruth Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall. The PAC also houses offices, classrooms, and a number of studios and rehearsal spaces. The theatres are served by fully equipped scene and costume shops, as well as spacious make-up and dressing facilities. All of our theatres-including Chico's 1,300-seat Laxson Auditorium-possess state-of-the-art computerized lighting systems. All musical events are professionally recorded, and our recording studio is the finest in the North State.


The University is home to four galleries with a wide range of exhibition calendars:

The University Gallery is located in Taylor Hall and features an exhibition calendar of contemporary and historical art work, a biennial alumni show, an annual student art show, and faculty exhibitions.

The BFA Gallery is tucked into Ayres Hall and features culminating shows for students earning the Bachelor of Fine Arts.

The Janet Turner Print Museum in the east wing of the Meriam Library curates seven exhibitions a year drawn from the collection of over 3,500 prints. The National Print Competition is held every other year with print artists from the United States and abroad.

The Humanities Center Gallery is located in Trinity Hall and presents an eclectic exhibition calendar of alumni, faculty, and community artists.


Our scholarship program includes awards for first-time students and continuing students. All are highly competitive and awarded on the basis of demonstrated artistic ability. Consult the Departments of Art, Music, and Theatre for more information.

North State Symphony Orchestra

Truly a "town/gown" affair, the orchestra is a collection of the finest instrumentalists from both the campus and the North State. The orchestra's season features world-class guest soloists, great standard repertoire, and exciting premieres.

Band Program

The Symphonic Band, a student ensemble that features student conductors, performs a wide variety of concert and pop music.

Wind Ensemble is a student group focusing on the best original band works and high quality transcriptions.

Jazz Program

Jazz X-Press features contemporary music suited to the high-powered jazz band as well as performing music tailored to the big band sound. Students learn to improvise, create their own charts, and double on other instruments.

Jazz Combos of various sizes and instrumentation perform eclectic repertoires throughout the semester.

Chamber Music

Trios, quartets, and quintets perform the classical masters as well as contemporary composers. Challenging and highly rewarding, these ensembles feature woodwinds, brass, low brass, and a variety of other instrumental combinations.


From solo recitals to accompanying, keyboard players perform in a variety of settings, including chamber, recitals, and concerts with large ensembles.

Choral Programs

The University Chorus is 150 student and community voices specializing in large-scale choral works and masterpieces.

The A Cappella Choir auditions student voices and focuses on a diverse repertoire of exciting vocal music from the 17th to the 21st centuries.

Chamber Singers-a select vocal ensemble-focus on innovative chamber choir literature that is varied in style and international in scope.

Gospel Choir is open to students and community singers and presents music from the American Southern Gospel tradition-from beautiful expressions of faith to exciting foot-stompin' and hand-clappin' gospel tunes.

Opera Workshop

This wonderful blend of music and theatre presents a variety of regular and special performances and touring opportunities.

Popular Music Ensembles

Student musicians audition for small pop groups that play rock, pop, country, and other music from America's popular culture.

Theatre Productions

From the hottest new plays to the classics of world dramatic masterpieces to the best of Broadway (and off Broadway), Theatre faculty, staff, and students produce a season of eight productions, including two musicals and a dance concert. These productions offer Theatre and Musical Theatre majors, minors, and interested students from other majors a wide array of opportunities to act, sing, dance, stage-manage, build, and run (and in some cases, direct, choreograph, and design) a challenging variety of performance styles, staging techniques, authors, periods, and design concepts.

Students can audition for the " Off Broadways," a musical theatre touring group, and participate in the Chico Dance Theatre. CDT offers students the chance to choreograph, as well as perform in, the department's yearly dance concert.

CSU Summer Arts

CSU Summer Arts is a multidisciplinary systemwide program offering academic credit plus a festival in the visual, performing, and literary arts. The academic component offers two- and three-week residency courses for undergraduates, graduates, and professionals in creative writing, dance, music, film, video, theatre, performance, visual arts, design, arts education, and new technology.