Serving Community & Economic Vitality Through Arts & Cultural Activities, Education & Advocacy


Art allows for expression and diversity to come together for deeper learning, appreciation and understanding of one another. Friends of the Arts is an organization in Butte County that believes art can connect people through theater, music, dance, literature, visual arts, film & video, live performance, architecture and special community events. 

Friends of the Arts is the popular name of Upstate Community Enhancement Foundation, a 501c3 dedicated to social, cultural and educational endeavors. It was organized in 2001 and officially recognized as a nonprofit in 2002 – the same year it became a State/Local Partner to the California Arts Council.

Friends of the Arts promotes communication, education, economic development, appreciation and collaboration in Butte County. Events are hosted throughout the year where community members have the chance to enjoy silent films, the racing of horse sculptures, partaking of poetry, attending a “Thrill the World” dance project or celebrating the return of Chinook Salmon in the Feather River. Large community events include Artoberfest, Chico Palio, the Salmon Festival and the Silent Film Festival.


  • Help the community grow creatively while preserving and celebrating its diverse culture
  • Provide community enhancement by bringing various art productions, exhibits and creative opportunities to the community
  • Give local artists a chance to gain recognition – both locally and nationally
  • Create economic opportunities through arts and culture

Our blue apple logo was designed by Chico Artist Sal Casa who was inspired by the Annie’s Arts Awards – a ceremony in Chico that honored local artists for many years. Winners were presented glass apple paperweights created by internationally known Orient & Flume. This Chico company began in the 70s and grew to international fame for its famous “Tiffany-like” iridescent finishes.