Grass Valley City Council OKs $7,500 for cultural district |

Grass Valley City Council OKs $7,500 for cultural district

There was plenty of appreciation for the arts being expressed Tuesday night in support of the Grass Valley-Nevada City Cultural District’s request for $7,500 in “matched funds” from the Grass Valley City Council.

The funding is for fiscal year 2018-2019 and came to the council after the district initially pitched the city in April. Groups including the Center for the Arts, Wild & Scenic Film Festival and the Grass Valley Downtown Association requested amounts ranging from $5,000 to $45,000 for their projects. The cultural district was asked to supply more details and re-submit its request.

Eliza Tudor, the executive director of the Nevada County Arts Council, and Jon Blinder, the president of its board of directors, were on hand to tout the achievements of the cultural district over the past year — and its plans for 2019.

Blinder noted he has worked for 20 years to highlight the value of the arts in Nevada County, wryly likening the effort to trying to “herd all the cats.”

The designation of Nevada City and Grass Valley as a California Cultural District, Blinder said, is a pioneering opportunity to bring the entire community together around arts and culture.

Tudor told the council that last year, the arts council had published a Nevada County Visual Artist & Gallery Guide, conducted multiple stakeholder meetings and workshops, and hosted the California Arts Council for one of its five annual statewide meetings.

It also launched two tools, an economic impact study and a “state of the Arts” education survey. According to Tudor, the council collected more than 1,000 surveys at different events and surveyed more than 60 organizations for the economic impact study, which will be ready to launch in April. The education survey compiled data from all Western Nevada County schools in collaboration with the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools and the school districts, and will be released in late February.

“We want to do more with social media and marketing,” Tudor said, adding the council is considering a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter.

A number of people spoke in support of the cultural district, including Michelle Amador, the director of development for New York-based Mark Morris Dance Group, who noted that she lives here because of the rich artistic community.

“It’s clearly a win-win,” said Sean Gilleran of Gold Miners Inn.

The council unanimously approved the funding request, telling the arts council to come back for the next round of funding in April.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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