Sierra Festival of the Arts in Grass Valley Sunday |

Sierra Festival of the Arts in Grass Valley Sunday

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Grass Valley will welcome more than 40 artists and an expected crowd of about 1,000 Sunday at the 31st annual Sierra Festival of the Arts.

The event, which closes down Mill Street from Main to Neal streets, features fine art, access to the artists, music, shopping and more.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., people can wander among vendor booths filled with exhibits of paintings, sculpture, photography and other mediums. This year, the Grass Valley Downtown Association, which organizes the festival, has invited new groups to participate to expand the event with different forms of art

“We’re really trying to bring a feel of youth and movement to the event,” said Julia Jordan, executive director of the downtown association.

As attendees browse through the exhibits, they will be entertained by Music in the Mountains Young Composers, Nevada Union High School Choir, Sierra Dance Institute, the Desmond School of Irish Dance and more.

It’s the art that makes Sierra Festival of the Arts stand apart from other downtown events. The work on exhibit is fine art and good for display as opposed to the handmade crafts —  which focus more on art and function — that are sold at events like Thursday Night Market.

The downtown stores also notice a difference with this event.

“This particular event, according to the business owners, is good for retail, as well,” Jordan said, adding that many of the shops that typically close Sundays open up for this Memorial Day Weekend event.

Jordan, who has been a part of the Sierra Festival of the Arts for the past 10 years, says that about 1,000 come through each year. Since the event runs all day, there’s a flow of visitors throughout the day.

Avanguardia Winery is a big supporter of the arts and will have its downtown tasting room open Sunday for complimentary wine tasting with a featured art exhibit by Louise Pryor, said owner Marilyn Chrisman.

Chrisman looks forward to the event and encourages those attending to remember to “turn the corner” on Mill to see the great options available along Main Street.

Artists from Grass Valley, Nevada City, Placerville and even Sebastopol are scheduled to showcase their work. Locals such as Kathryn Wronski, Liz Collins and Kathryn Schoensee Finn will feature their paintings, alongside Lincoln photographer Patrick Osborne and Jane Kiskaddon from San Rafael, in a casual, relaxed atmosphere, according to the downtown association.

Jordan noted that the event is also family friendly. There will be a kids craft area featuring free mural painting, courtesy of Ben Franklin and The Artist Workshop. The pieces will be used at the Thursday Night Markets this summer.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be contacted at

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