‘Everything will be okay’: The Miners Foundry looks to the future, offers community-centered campaigns during pandemic | TheUnion.com

‘Everything will be okay’: The Miners Foundry looks to the future, offers community-centered campaigns during pandemic

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector

For nearly 15 years Gretchen Bond has served as executive director of the Miners Foundry in Nevada City. In that time, the Community Cultural Center has steadily grown from what she described as financially unstable, to a popular event center, art gallery and heart of successful community.

As the venue is closed due to restrictions forced during the pandemic, the organization is taking this time to reach out with encouraging, supportive and creative campaigns. Bond said, “We are trying to stay positive with our messaging. I think we are in a little bit of a different place than most venues because we are a community cultural center so we feel pretty strongly about how all of this has impacted everyone. Our focus for a while has been to be as positive as possible without ignoring what is going on. We are not oblivious to it.”

Share the love

The foundry is currently running two different community-centered campaigns. The first, Share the Love, is geared to support Foundry sponsors. “We are sending out an email to our list and sharing it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that if you go to a specific business and spend at least $20 and send us the receipt, then we will send you two drink tickets to bring to a future show at the Foundry. So we’re just trying to encourage people to patronage our local businesses.”

They are starting out featuring sponsors as they are businesses that have supported the Foundry for years. Each campaign features two businesses at a time and runs for about a week and has included SPD, Golden Era, Bistro 221, Emily’s Catering and BriarPatch Food Co-op so far. Currently Lefty’s Grill is the featured business through today. Bond said the effort has been well received. “It is not often that people send an email just to say ‘good job’ or ‘we love this,’ so that has been really good.”

“We all know how much our local businesses have supported and support our nonprofits, and we were trying to think of a way to return the favor, so to speak.” Bond said, “It was something we wanted to do to show the love.”

rainbow with a message

Secondly, the Foundry has been promoting a rainbow coloring campaign with a positive message.

“We picked it up off of social media. We thought it would be wonderful to do this,” Bond said. With it’s origin in Italy, the campaign is simply to send a message of hope. People can go to the website minersfoundry.org and print out a black and white page with a rainbow, heart and the message “Everything will be okay” on it. Just color it in and post it in windows, on doors and around neighborhoods. Bond said she would like to see the message on traffic boards and in store fronts. On Broad Street in Nevada City, Bistro 221 has taken it a step further, painting their front window in a colorful rainbow.

“It will be OK, it’s just really hard right now,” Bond said. “It involves you in a creative activity and it is a really good message for the community.”

Bond said it’s nice to be able to give without having to ask, but she added it is not that the Foundry will not at some point need to be asking for financial help from the community, however, the government loans and grant programs they applied for and will receive will cover their financial needs for the moment.

Changes coming

The leadership at the Foundry is looking at making changes to their business model to survive with an expectation at this point that the earliest gatherings will be allowed after the end of September. Bond is joining task forces and staying as involved as possible to know what the state, county and city have planned to be as ready as possible.

“This is not good for us. We will need to reach out for support, but right now we are OK.”

As with all other businesses that count on public events to survive, the board and staff at the Foundry are working to keep the agency solvent, but Bond said the pandemic’s after effects will go on far too long for them to survive without support. In “normal times” the Foundry would have hosted over 100 events during the past six weeks, but have not been able to have any of them. The event-focused staff have not been able to work since mid-March and they are now collecting unemployment. The Payment Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans will be used for the short term but the organization will not be able to borrow their way out of the disaster.

Bond said, “We are a community gathering place. People have their proms here. We call it birth to death.”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.

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