Art at work: Art Works Gallery to host Second Saturday Spotlight, holiday food bank benefit |

Art at work: Art Works Gallery to host Second Saturday Spotlight, holiday food bank benefit


WHO: Art Works Gallery

WHAT: Second Saturday Spotlight featuring artist Tom Haddy

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 14 from noon to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Art Works Gallery, 113 Mill Street, Grass Valley

HOW: Admission is free


WHO: Art Works Gallery and The Food Bank of Nevada County

WHAT: Holiday Food Bank benefit

WHEN: Happening now, with final drawing on Saturday, Dec. 12

WHERE: Art Works Gallery, 113 Mill Street, Grass Valley


In May of this year, Art Works Gallery Co-op quietly celebrated a milestone – a decade in business. Ten years is a long time for any small business to survive and that should not be overlooked, but with the outbreak of the pandemic, the gallery instead shortened hours of operation and put health and safety measures in place in order to continue to keep the doors of the co-operative open.

While the success of the gallery may be a surprise to some, it is no surprise to community members who have voted it the Best Art Gallery in Nevada County four years in a row. With 34 artists in residence, at any given time people can enjoy acrylics, oils, mosaics, photography, paintings, glass, textiles, ceramics, woodturning and much more.

Artists submit an application for consideration, and when an opening becomes available, the board of directors reviews the work before inviting them to participate as a member of the gallery. Membership includes a commitment to work in the gallery, on a committee and a percentage of their sales goes to the organization. Because the gallery is run by the artists, visitors have the unique opportunity to meet with and speak to many of the creators of the work they admire.

Artist Katie Wolff has been with Art Works for about eight years. She said she is proud to be part of the organization that who not only offers exposure of her work, but to the work of many of the talented artists who call Nevada County home.

“Shop local. We are 100% commissionable. If you see something that is close to what you want to own, we can make it happen. Everything is local.”— Katie WolffArtist at Art Works Gallery

Wolff said the restricted hours mean there are not enough shifts to work. “According to me, you don’t get to work enough shifts. When we had a normal life before (COVID) the artist only worked two four hour shifts a month, I would like to work much more than that because it is such a beautiful place to be in.”

Wolff moved to the area from Marin County and said she is thrilled to be a part of the co-op. “I was so blown away when I was invited to apply. There are some big artists names in the gallery, and I am still in shock that I am one of them. I think many of the artists feel that way. We have a lot of talent up here and to be selected to be one of them is an honor.”

Wolff is a two dimensional painter working in acrylic and water-based oil specializing in portraits.

“I have become an animal person, but first and foremost I am a portrait artist,” explained Wolff. “Those are the commissions I really crave. I start with the eyes and go from there.”

A full-time artist since the late 1980s, Wolff said art has always been part of her life.

Second Saturday Spotlight

Understanding the value of engaging the public, members of the gallery also offer live demonstrations on the second Saturday of each month. This weekend, artist Tom Haddy will be in the foyer discussing and demonstrating the modality of stone turning. The retired mail carrier will walk spectators through the process from boulder to finished product via a video showing the initial cuts, to hand on demonstration of the use the variety of tools needed to go from raw rock to polished stone. Haddy has created beautiful pieces including plates, bowls, vases and more — from functional to simply visually fabulous, Haddy will be on hand this Saturday, Nov. 14, from noon to 3 p.m. at the gallery located at 113 Mill Street.

“Tom will be in the foyer showing work in various stages to the finish product. He will be outside and wearing a mask,” said Wolff.

Giving back, shopping local

In addition to exposing people to the process of creating art, artists at the gallery are also a benevolent group, over the years donating a countless number of pieces of art to various fundraisers and also raising funds on their own to contribute to other nonprofits. Each year visitors are encouraged to buy tickets for an opportunity to win pieces of donated art. Tickets are on sale now for as little as a dollar each, and 25 tickets for $20. Donated pieces have a bag in front of them. Patrons simply print their names and contact information on the tickets and place them in the bag corresponding to the piece they hope to win. The drawing takes place Dec. 12. Proceeds are then donated to the Food Bank of Nevada County.

Wolff encourages folks to come to the gallery to find just the right gift while supporting the local economy.

“Shop local,” Wolff said. “We are 100% commissionable. If you see something that is close to what you want to own, we can make it happen. Everything is local. The artists are local and are happy to commission to create what you would like.”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at She can be reached at holliesallwrite@

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