(Updated): Arts community focuses on collaboration | TheUnion.com

(Updated): Arts community focuses on collaboration

Members of the panel paused to hear comments from the public. The panelists are known leaders of the local art scene. From left to right:
Teresa Yinmeng Liu/tliu@theunion.com |

This story has been updated to correct the name of Nevada County Arts Council

Top county and city government officials gathered Thursday at the Grass Valley Center for the Arts for a comprehensive overview of the artistic landscape in Nevada County.

The City of Grass Valley coordinated the two-hour-and-a half public presentation, held so eastern Nevada County elected officials could take a leaf out of the book of the local art leaders and expand the opportunities in their community.

But it was also a chance to share the ups and downs of keeping a vibrant artistic community going, officials said.

“I think the next steps are that they challenge us and we challenge them. How do we come together and start checking off some of those boxes?”Grass Valley Mayor Jason Fouyer

“I think it gives us an opportunity to be really proud of our community and to be proud of the arts and things that are happening,” Grass Valley Mayor Jason Fouyer said. “It was our opportunity … to be able to hear the successes and challenges they are having, and how do we get engaged, and how do we participate in aiding the arts in our community.”

Nevada City Councilman Duane Strawser said the issue of the underfunding of arts has always existed, but it’s essential for local lawmakers to sustain a blossoming art scene.

“I think this was a necessary meeting, because most of us in the community appreciate, and we expect to have quality music and theatrical presentations available to us,” said Strawser. “I think both at the city and county levels, we should start looking for opportunities, I don’t know what that is yet, because our budgets are tight, we have to take a look at it and keep it alive and thriving, it’s very critical.”

Around 50 citizens and 16 elected officials from Nevada City, Grass Valley, Truckee and Nevada County participated in the event, which was facilitated by the Nevada County Arts Council.

A highlight of the Thursday conference was a five-member panel discussion led by Julie Baker, executive director of Grass Valley’s Center for the Arts; Paul Emery of Paul Emery Music; Ken Hardin, artistic director at InConcert Sierra, Mieko Hatano, interim executive director for Music in the Mountains; and Gretchen Bond, executive director of Miners Foundry Cultural Center.

The panelists discussed their individual strategies in operating their groups and attracting big-name artists.

As part of the panel discussion, city officials and panelists shared their thoughts on how government could better collaborate with the arts community to help enhance its growth.

Though Thursday’s conference focused on music, officials said they hope to expand the discussion to include the visual arts in the future as well.

“We do these quite regularly,” said Fouyer in regards to the meetings. “I think the next steps are that they challenge us and we challenge them. How do we come together and start checking off some of those boxes?”

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, email tliu@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

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