James Kuiper's Studio
James Kuiper's Studio, also known as the Leo Cast Alley Gallery and the Merry Boon Stable, is located in central Chico, CA on the Chico Creek. The well maintained flower and vegetable gardens surrounding the studio contain sculptures by Lyman Kipp, Paul DiPasqua, Marc Cardinet, Jon Cummins and others.
In addition to being Kuiper's workspace this is a space to which artist and those interested in the arts gravitate for lively and informative discussions. The studio and the Leo Cast Alley Gallery are open Sundays 1-5 PM, or by appointment. Works by artists in the Merry Boon Stable may also be viewed at 1126 Bidwell ave or 325 Nord Ave (same place) in Chico, CA at the same time.
Leo Cast - the Man, the Myth, the Legend
Leo Cast, the first but unrecognized European settler in Butte County, was a known aesthetician and gallerist. He sold beads, trinkets, and refrigerators to the Honey Cute division of the Maidu indian tribe who in turn sold those items at a great mark-up to the surrounding tribes. When the Maidu indian chief offered a Honey Cute hostage, Leena Sun Abend to Cast for two trinkets and one refrigerator, he thought about the trade for only a few moments. Leena was beautiful and intelligent, thus the deal was made.
Leo and Leena (also a person with great aesthetic insight and sharp business acumen) soon fell madly in love. They married and went east, to New York City for their honeymoon and never returned to Butte County.
Chico, CA (in love with the lore of their first claimed European settler, John Bidwell) refuses to acknowledge the prior settler, Leo Cast! The Leo Cast Alley is the first named place in Butte County to recognize this pioneer's achievements. We hope there will be more soon.