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A blank canvas takes shape

Lorelei Heirnitz, 10, works on a mixed media painting as Solina Hoagland, 6, gets instruction from Community Canvas co-founder Tiffany McGuckin at the nonprofit organization's new studio space in St. Joseph's Cultural Center in Grass Valley.
Brett Bentley/bbentley@theunion.com |

It’s been little more than a year since Community Canvas hosted a Paint and Pour at Pilot Peak Winery in Penn Valley. Since that first event, in June 2013, the founders of Community Canvas have charged ahead in their mission to make art and art education accessible to all.

Last week, the organization, now officially a nonprofit, hosted an open house and art show at its new space — more than 800 square feet on the third floor of St. Joseph’s Cultural Center in Grass Valley. The bright, airy space is more than conducive to get the creative process flowing.

Founders Virginia Faraco and Tiffany McGuckin are the force behind the organization’s success in its first year. Their “Paint and Pour” events at local wineries, ol’ Republic Brewery and other venues around town have been a popular attraction. Community Canvas rolls out to the location, provides all the art supplies, ideas and an instructor while participants tap into their creative sides while enjoying a glass of wine or beer. Those events help support the work that is near to both Faraco and McGuckin’s hearts — making art accessible to all — including children and seniors.



“We are trying to incorporate art into everyday life, that’s our goal,” Faraco said.

They have worked with Penn Valley and Union Hill school districts on art projects, visited Hilltop Commons multiple times and plan to do even more now that Community Canvas is a nonprofit. The organization is working with Scotten School on curriculum based projects to support the Grass Valley school’s STEAM program — a science, technology, engineer, math and arts focused standards.




Two of the organization’s board members are teachers that help make sure Community Canvas’ work with students meets educational standards, McGuckin said.

In addition to the community outreach, the duo plans to continue the mobile “Paint and Pour” type events which offer fun for adults of all ages and helps support the other programming.

The Paint and Pour events use acrylic painting techniques. But through their new space in Grass Valley, Community Canvas hosts summer camps for children, after school programs, family art nights, classes and more. The studio space allows them to expand their offerings to include mixed media and clay.

This October, Community Canvas will also partner with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Nevada County to host a large fundraising event — Chalk the Walk — which will center around professional artists drawings on a sidewalk in downtown Grass Valley. There will be vendors, food, art and more at the event McGuckin describes as a family festival.

More details about Chalk the Walk and other Community Canvas events can be found in Prospector, or for more about Community Canvas, upcoming classes and programs, visit http://communitycanvasinc.com/, or call 530-272-2213.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be reached at bbentley@theunion.com or by calling 530-477-4219.


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