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Mary Gardner


Mary grew up the oldest of nine in the San Francisco North Bay. Because her parents believed that to be an artist was the highest of callings, music, theatre, poetry, and visual art were intrinsic to family life. She moved to Chico in 1980 to pursue a degree in journalism but quickly succumbed to the magnetism of the Art Department. Once among her tribe she discovered that her gifts were best suited as an organizer rather than as a producer of art. She is happiest traveling, throwing parties, and hosting out-of-towners.

As the City of Chico Art Projects Coordinator for 16 years, Mary staffed the Chico Arts Commission, managed the completion of over 50 public art works, oversaw the city’s annual arts granting program, and successfully advocated for art to be widely integrated into civic life through the General Plan and Budgeting processes.


Mary has been on the Chico Arts and Culture Foundation Board since 2013.

“Chico’s bounty of art and nature, especially when I get to share it with family and friends, reinvigorates my soul and is a constant reaffirmation of why I live here and continue to commit myself to its betterment.”

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