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Sonoma County Gazette
Delfin Vigil, Executive Director Petaluma Arts Center

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Art

Meet the new Director of the Petaluma Arts Center

Feb 28, 2018


“Eventually, all things connect” ­— Charles Eames

By Jane Rogan

Taking it from here, Llisa Demetrios, granddaughter of iconic American designers, Charles and Ray Eames, Board Member for Petaluma Arts Center and Curator for the show, Power of Ten: Scaling Up, which runs through March 24, drives home her inspiring statement:“Today, nothing operates in a void.” Not me, not you, not Delfin Vigil, who – as Executive Director - has arrived on the scene to facilitate important connections for Petaluma Arts.

Before I read the materials Delfin gave me, I described the gallery as a “Clean, well-lighted place for the Arts,” an obvious play on Hemingway’s, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Books.

Del spent his childhood and early teen years in Benicia. When I called it ground zero for the 80s punk revival, he perked up. “Yes! That’s who I grew up with. Those were my friends.” That was some wild stuff, competing with any of the wild stuff I grew up with in the 70s. This tells us a lot about Delfin, the quiet, charming, dry-witted writer. This tells us that like other quiet types, he runs deep and possesses a well-developed wild side. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing that side reflected in some of his choices for the Center. When I mentioned that the space was more sophisticated than I had anticipated. Del retorted, “Sophisticated without the snoot.” Exactly.

The connection between what happened with the Benicia-Berkeley Punk Revival and any of our local Arts Centers is the alchemy of permission and innovation soldered by personal investment. If you have one or two, but not all three, you don’t have it. It’s like the difference between telling a story you heard and living a story you tell. For the magic to happen, well…you have to be there.

My colleague from the Sonoma County Gazette, Su McMurtry – an artist in her own right- asks Del, “Do you consider yourself an artist?”

His answer is something he has given some thought; on his own, hunched over his writing throughout the past decade. “Yes. Yes, I think I am comfortable calling myself an artist now,” he told us.

If only I had read his story on Nikko, Concrete Commando, before our meeting. Published in 2010 by Continuous Sound, the story originally appeared at The in June 2010. As Armistead Maupin wrote in review, “I was riveted from the very beginning, and you never once let me down…” I must agree. And more about that – you told me the truth. This is important in these times, and has always been my marker for what makes an artist. There was the connection. There was the magic of synchronicity that is inevitable in the throes of an investigation. I can’t wait to read his novel, Death of a Newspaperman.

With a staff of four at the Arts Center, Del has work to do. As the E.D., he is also the grant writer, development director and HR director. Pleased about his active Board of Directors, and their solid connections with the Arts Communities in Sonoma County and beyond, Del is planning to use the space at the arts center to invite shy and gregarious art lovers alike to join in. He is open to celebrating the Arts in whatever ways the community brings to the Center. Music? Yes. Drama? Yes. Paint, clay, large, small…yes, yes, yes. This wonderful place belongs to Petaluma, and it’s now a stop along our SMART railway. Give yourself a treat and make the connection.

For events at the Petaluma Arts Center, 230 Lakeville St ,, or call (707) 762-5600


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