Book preserves artwork depicting regional life at turn of the millennium |

Book preserves artwork depicting regional life at turn of the millennium

Teddy Kell’s copy of the “Millennium Book” is one of only 18 that exist, two of which are in such august bodies as the California State Library and the U.S. Library of Congress. The local artist will show her copy for the first time locally on Sunday.

Kell, from the colorful California town of Rough and Ready, is one of a dozen artists whose works are in “The Millennium Book,” a five-year project begun in 1999 and sponsored by The Rumsey Community Foundation, California State Library Foundation, Sacramento art group Inclusionists and the International Exchange for the Arts.

The project’s purpose is to preserve works of art that depict life at the turn of the millennium in Northern California for generations to come (the book is supposedly designed to last 500 years).

The book is a collection of artwork – a portfolio, really – that includes painters, photographers, poets, printmakers, sculptors, designers and musicians.

According to Kell, 79, each artist was given free rein to depict life at the turn of the millennium. The only requirement was to put the works on 11-inch by 11-inch sheets.

“It was fun working on the book,” she said. “There were so many different ways to show life.” She illustrated some of her favorite American Indian poems, Bible quotations and Japanese haiku with her digitally generated art.

Each of the 12 separate, unbound books is housed in an archival box. Some of these boxes have been distributed to selected libraries, universities and museums on five continents, said Kell. Assamilik Eskimo Archives, Eagle, Alaska, is just one of the recipients.

All the participating artists received a copy of their own, which they can either keep or donate. Kell said she has considered donating hers to the Portland Art Museum or to a college in Oregon, but said, “I’m still open to suggestions.”

According to Be Davison Herrera, brain child of the project, “the artists were chosen because of their strong commitment to the practice of art as a peaceful, communal pursuit.” She may be reached at for more information about the book.

When asked why she was chosen, Kell said that Herrera had known about her work for years, “but maybe the short answer is (I’m) ‘just damn lucky.'”

Kell is an artist with a fine reputation; indeed, she’s considered by local artists to be a matriarch of the arts in this area. Her work has encompassed digital paintings, original drawings and paintings and prints. She is also a co-founder of the Altares Del Mundo (Altars of the World) show that takes place in Grass Valley in the fall, and she still works on it a decade later.

Sunday’s Meet the Artist event is part of an exhibition – “A Gathering of Images” – of Kell’s at The Center for the Arts through March 24, the reception for which is scheduled for March 16, 2-4 p.m.


WHAT: A rare showing of the “Millennium Book” at Meet the Artist event with Teddy Kell

WHEN: Sunday, 6-8 p.m. (also on March 12 and 19, both noon-3 p.m.)

WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley


INFORMATION: Call the center at (530) 274-8384 for; also online at

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