Commentary: The arts matter | TheUnion.com
Carla Beebe
Special to Prospector

Commentary: The arts matter

Simply put, the ARTS matter. The arts make communities more vibrant, attract quality employees, and inspire each of us individually and collectively.

According to John Tusa, "the arts link society to its past, a people to its inherited store of ideas, images, and words. The Arts are evolutionary and revolutionary; they listen, recall, and lead."

Concurrently, there are an increasing number of studies demonstrating the beneficial impacts on health from active engagement in creative pursuits as well as being in an environment enhanced by good design and art.

We now know that the therapeutic effects of the arts are applicable to all groups of the population, from healthy and active people to recovery acceleration in hospital patients.

The arts are also emerging as a vital force in addressing quality of life issues for older adults. Thankfully, public awareness of these important relationships is rapidly rising.

In addition, the arts can serve as a powerful spur to civic dialogue. An especially moving, shocking, inappropriate, or insightful work might compel us to speak out. Two such pieces inspiring much discussion are right here in Nevada County, including the Art OnSite piece entitled "Nevada City Alchemy" by Daniel Brickman and the steel flower sculpture "Mountain Flowers" by Troy Corliss commissioned by the Town of Truckee for the Pioneer Roundabout.

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Whether you like or dislike either piece, meaningful public dialog is a critical means to community development and the arts can create unique opportunities for understanding and exchange.

In Truckee, the "Mountain Flowers" sculpture resulted in an important dialog about the need for a formal public art policy.

According to the Nevada County Economic Resource Council the importance of tourism to the economy of Nevada County is extremely significant and growing. Cultural tourism, including art programming, stands to harness significant economic reward across many categories, including lodging, meals, and retail. To help build our creative economy, three of our board members serve on the Advisory Council to the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, and just this month our Board President, Jon Blinder, became a non-voting honorary member on the ERC Board.

As the official arts council of Nevada County and the state and local partner to the California Arts Council, Nevada County Arts is working hard to drop the physical and political dividing line between eastern and western Nevada County.

We recognize the importance of blending complementary assets and shared interests.

At the writing of this article, Nevada City is one of 15 finalists vying for the title of America's Coolest Small Towns while Truckee repeatedly earns accolades as one of the top ski destinations.

We believe that the countywide agglomeration of artists and art organizations will positively impact our ability to promote tourism and generate sustaining revenue sources helping us further build our already rich, lively, and unique blend of art and cultural offerings.

One of our first collaborative efforts is working with the Tahoe Maritime Museum and Placer Arts to create an annual juried art show at the museum's new facility on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.

You can stay informed about our activities, events, and efforts to build the cultural resources of Nevada County by logging on to our website or Facebook page.

Carla Beebe of Truckee is a member of Nevada County Arts board.