Museum of Northern California Art receives generous donation

Jan 7, 2015 4:06 PM by Linda Watkins-Bennett

The family of the late Maria A. Phillips of Chico has made a generous $25,000.00 donation to the new Museum of Northern California Art (MONCA) to establish a gallery in her name. Phillips was a well known and highly respected member of the Chico Art Community for many years, and recently lost her battle with cancer. Here is the announcement from her husband, Bob Klang, about the contribution.

"For nearly two months after we lost our Maria, our family struggled to settle on a fitting way to honor her beautiful life. When we heard that the fledgling Museum of Northern California Art was looking for a sponsor for each of its proposed five galleries, we happily decided to donate $25,000 as a major contribution toward the $50,000 that the museum board is asking for each gallery sponsorship.

We, along with the museum's board, are hopeful that enough supporters of the arts in the North State, especially the many who viewed Maria's all-consuming devotion to the local cultural scene, will help take us the rest of the way in securing this lasting tribute to her.

A short time ago I announced to the many artists who worked closely with Maria to make the Avenue 9 Art Gallery one of the premier art venues in the North State that a large share of the family donation to MONCA was coming from unexpected residual Avenue 9 funds when the gallery closes its doors in February. Over the years, Maria kept her business afloat with countless contributions of private family funds. Ironically, during the last year leading to Maria's final battle with her illness, Avenue 9 promoted several financially successful projects. Those successes would not have occurred without the hard work of the Avenue 9 Guild artists and the support of the public. Therefore, it is most fitting that the earnings are returned to the public as a contribution to a major community art project and a tribute to Maria A. Phillips.

Thank you for all your support of Maria and Avenue 9 Gallery over the years and for considering a contribution to this special tribute to a true Chico icon."

Donations in Maria Phillips' name can be made to MONCA, 900 Esplanade, Chico, Ca 95926. Write "Maria Phillips" on the subject line. Or visit MONCA online at

The Museum of Northern California Art is to be housed in the historic Veteran's Memorial Hall on the Esplanade. For information, call 530-891-4304.


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