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Welcome to the Sanctuary

We are committed to creative growth through the arts and engendering a spirit of community. This is a grassroots experiment in sharing. Follow the link below to read more about us.

About Us
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Check out the link to the calendar below to see upcoming shows, workshops and events happening at the Sanctuary.

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Sewing Night

Come the second Sunday of the month from 6pm to 9pm for sewing & mending night.

Suggested donation of $5 - $20

Call Debbie with questions

See you there!

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Open Lab

Our open lab hours are

12 pm to 6:00 pm.

See the link below for more information.

Open Lab Brochure

Upcoming Events at the Sanctuary

Wednesday, April 26th - Dunkelpek & The Sanctuary Furniture Ensemble

An evening exploring sound, silence and the distance between the two, with Oakland-based duo DunkelpeK and the Sanctuary Furniture Ensemble. Nava Dunkelman, one half of DunkelpeK, is a graduate of HSU's music department, where she and her musical partner Jakob Pek offered an improvisation workshop last year, before playing at Gregg Moore's Crib Concert series on the dark side of the Creamery. They will be serving up a similar offering on Wednesday the 26th here at the Sanctuary, with an open workshop at 6:30, and a concert at 8. The performance will include a tribute to experimental composer and educator Pauline Oliveros by Daniel Nickerson and the Sanctuary Furniture Ensemble.



DunkelpeK is Japanese born percussionist Nava Dunkelman and Canadian American guitarist Jakob Pek. This iconoclastic duo creates an unapologetically progressive world music for the new century. Experimental and improvisational, DunkelpeK’s sound transfigures and hybridizes many musics, offering listeners a holistic exploration into the very nature of musical experience. Together, they have shared the stage with Fred Frith, Theresa Wong, Arrington De Dionyso and many others luminaries of contemporary music. They currently reside in Oakland, California, where they perform and teach regularly.

Website ➤

The Sanctuary Furniture Ensemble

The Sanctuary Furniture Ensemble is a multimedia performance project based out of the Great Hall of the Sanctuary, juxtaposing pre-recorded sounds and sculptural elements with live performers. This performance will be a tribute to the life and work of Pauline Oliveros, a ground-breaking composer, improviser and educator who passed away in 2016. Pauline's sonic language and philosophic leanings merged later in life into the notion of Deep Listening, a syncretic mode of interacting with sound.

Thursday, May 4th - Atlas Revolt

We are excited to welcome Bret Higgin's Atlas Revolt, a genre-defying instrumental ensemble from Toronto, to the Sanctuary on Thursday May 4th. This band of accomplished musicians will be playing in Arcata for the first time ever, displaying their unique synthesis of jazz, rock, and world music.

Bret Higgins’ Atlas Revolt is the brainchild of the Toronto bassist and created as a vehicle for his original instrumental compositions. Formed in 2013, the group explores genre-defying music that draws inspiration largely from film scores, jazz, rock, surf, and elements of Eastern European, African and South American music. Notably gaining the attention of New York saxophonist-composer John Zorn, their first CD was released on his Tzadik Records in 2015 and has been received with glowing reviews. Although a collective of seasoned touring musicians make up the project, this is the group's first North American tour.

Press Quotes:

“Led by bassist-composer Bret Higgins, this Toronto quintet has turned in a winningly melodic debut of carbonated chamber jazz. This sensual album, marbled with Latin, soul, gypsy, and Middle Eastern spicing, is one of the essential releases of the year.” 4 1/2 stars - Carlo Wolff / Downbeat Magazine - March 2016

“While Higgins liberally mixes styles and sounds in these original compositions, all of this music manages to speak the same language." "He readily blends Eastern European influences, rock grooves, psychotropic sounds, and klezmer-ish melodies, alternately creating grooving numbers and sweeping, cinematic pieces in the process" - Dan Bilawsky/ All About Jazz

“Bret Higgins is a take-no-prisoners bassist hailing from Toronto. He lays down rock- solid grooves, then sends his bandmates out to do the serious damage. It wouldn’t be fair to categorize this album as a great “bassist’s” album. It’s simply a great album.” - Frank Alkyer / Downbeat Magazine - Editor’s Pick August 2015

“A fabulous release by this Canadian instrumental band that blends latin, r&b, soul, film soundtracks, jazz and more into moody and infectious grooves. A new take on The Meters and Booker T, this is small unit instrumental music that you will return to again and again.” - John Zorn/Tzadik

Website ➤         Play Sample ➤

Sanctuary Summer CSA: June - September

Artists are like farmers. Given time, space, resources, and a hospitable climate, they will produce things that bring health and happiness to others. In order to sustain this mutually beneficial connection between artists and audiences, we are creating a Sanctuary CSA, which stands for Community Supported Art.

Through the purchase of a Summer CSA share, subscribers will receive four monthly offerings between June and September, each consisting of artwork made at the Sanctuary. The money generated will pay the artists for their time, materials and labor, as well as subsidize the costs of the Sanctuary.

Subscriber's have the option of local pickup or of receiving their shares as packages in the mail. Local shares are $100, and pickup will be available at the Sanctuary every 2nd Friday from 6-9pm during Arts Arcata, or during Open Lab hours every Saturday from 12-6pm. Mail shares are $125, and will be sent out the 2nd Friday of each month.

This summer's participating artists have a variety of different artistic backgrounds, but share in common that they use the Sanctuary as their primary studio space, and work as part of the staff that keeps the Sanctuary ship afloat.

Daniel Nickerson (Music Director/Program Coordinator/Resident) is a musician, artist, and writer whose work often finds its final home in the form of books, posters, CDs, and tapes which are reproduced in small editions and circulated among friends. Illustrations, words, and recordings mix together to tell stories and inspire creativity in others.

Rory Cullifer (Art Director/Resident) is a craftsman of many sorts whose long time passion has been ceramics. Each individual piece shows his love of lore, built to fill the heart, a visual metaphor for easing the mind.

Natalie Williams (Open Lab Director/Resident) is a visual artist who fulfills her creativity in working with community members as an art teacher and facilitator, and in the ceramics, painting, and printmaking studios of the Sanctuary and beyond. Her work is inspired by children, "children's" stories, dreams, weather, clouds, seasons, animals, poetry, music, mountains, and the sea.

CSA Share Options

Current Art Exhibit at the Sanctuary

Science Fiction Storytelling & A Curious Garden

The Sanctuary is pleased to announce two new exhibitions. The main hall will feature “Science Fiction Storytelling,” a selection of paintings, drawings, and mixed media by Violet Crabtree around the theme of imagined science fiction book covers. The meeting room will feature new works on paper and sculpture by Bryan Schoneman and Cindy Tirsbeck entitled, “A Curious Garden.” The exhibitions will be up through the months of March and April, and will be celebrated with an opening reception Friday March 10th 6-9pm during Arts Arcata.

The opening reception will also feature a screening of “ComiX Trip,” a selection of videos by the performance art group of the same name. These wild, whimsical, and musical shorts tell stories crafted by Violet Crabtree through live action, animation, claymation, and song.

Violet Crabtree

Science Fiction Storytelling

Violet Crabtree’s new paintings & drawings are surreal works of fiction, painting the landscapes of imagined science fiction novels. With such titles as “The Golden Sands of Home,” “Rain Cloud Headphones,” and “Saturn Eyes,” each work in the show represents an imagined book cover for a novel that exists only in Crabtree’s mind. Each detail is filled with intrigue, suggesting plot twists and turns, and taking the viewer on a wild and weird journey.

The show will also serve as a debut of sorts for a set of curtains that Crabtree has crafted specifically for the Sanctuary’s large main hall windows. The curtains depict pastoral and urban landscapes under the cloud of a UFO invasion.

Violet describes herself as “a cartoonist, painter, storyteller, crafter in textiles and filmmaker. Arcata inspired since 2006. Self-taught in all these realms, I strive to elevate the observer above the mundane, and smash the rigidity of civilization and structure.”


Bryan Schoneman & Cindy Tirsbeck: A Curious Garden

Selection from “A Curious Garden” by Bryan Schoneman

A curious garden features work by two artists approaching the same theme, each with a unique visual language. Presenting both two and three dimensional works, the artists will fill the Sanctuary’s meeting room with flowers, roots, soil & color for the Spring months of March and April.

In Schoneman’s own words: “The show ‘A Curious Garden’ presents artwork based on the idea that the garden is a construct, a projection of our desire to control our environment, and the beauty this manipulation can produce. The dynamic created by the difference in our interpretations of flowers, root masses, space and time is the heart of this collaboration. The artwork strives to find beauty in the interpretation rather than re-presentation. We are creating a curious garden from our relationship between plants, our imaginations, and our bodies...”

Eastern European Folk Music Meetup - Mondays at 7pm

You are invited to play and sing a variety of Eastern European, Balkan, and international folk music with a community music group (hosted by members of Chubritza) meeting on Monday evenings at the Sanctuary at 1301 J Street in Arcata!

All instruments and levels are welcome. The first meeting for the spring session will be Feb 13 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. Here is the current schedule:

7:00 – 7:30 focus on singing

7:30 – 8:00 singing and instruments together

8:00 – 8:30 focus on instrumental parts

You are welcome to attend all, or any specific part of the evening.

Please bring a variety of instruments, your singing voice, and music you might like to try. Participants are welcome to read music or learn by ear. (A recording device may be helpful.)

A $1-3 donation per session is requested toward cost of the space, with thanks to the Humboldt Folklife Society for providing a grant to subsidize expenses.

If you have questions, or would like any additional information about this Meetup, please contact Linnea at 707-496-6784 or or Craig at


click for past event info >>

© Creative Sanctuary • 1301 J Street Arcata, CA 95521 • 707-822-0898 • Closed Thursdays
the Sanctuary is dedicated to creative growth through artful living. We encourage people to teach, inspire and know each other.