Weaving art, commerce
Downtown Grass Valley just got a little more arty, thanks to the fact that the Sierra Dance Institute and the WallStreet Cafe and Investment Center moved into the neighborhood.
Sierra Dance Institute is renovating the second floor of the Center for the Arts on 314 W. Main St. WallStreet Cafe and Investment Center opened about one month ago in the building formerly occupied by Dezines Plus at 114 W. Main St.
Two community leaders in particular welcome the new neighbors.
“Art is the fourth largest generator of sales in the state of California. It makes sense to mix art with other business. Arts can’t be in the highest-end district,” said Grass Valley Downtown Association Executive Director Howard Levine.
“Grass Valley to me offers affordable rents; it’s a good match with the new businesses that are coming in. Look at Daniel Brooks with his new store (on Mill Street), who’s also an artist. Art is a very usable thing. It’s great to have dance in Grass Valley.”
Levine, who co-founded the Nevada County Arts Council in his home 20 years ago, mentioned that artists have tried to maintain a vibrant Grass Valley arts scene for the past 25 years.
Penelope Curtis, executive director of the Nevada County Arts Council, is also pleased with the location of the two new arts-related businesses.
Coincidentally, the arts council moved from Nevada City to downtown Grass Valley last January after its office space at Miners Foundry Cultural Center was flooded.
“I’m very happy to have WallStreet Cafe open, because it creates another marriage of the variety of arts,” Curtis said, “it’s not just music, it’s not just a gallery. It’s a place (where) people can congregate and absorb a variety of arts.
“I’m very happy Sierra Dance Institute is moving into the center. It’s a great space for dance, yoga, gymnastics,” Curtis added.
These businesses join already established art businesses such as The Louvre, E.J. Gold Fine Art Gallery, Julie Baker Fine Art, Windhorse Rugs and The Guilded Pear, and the new Jerianne Van Dijk Gallery/Studio in downtown Grass Valley.
“I think the arts in Grass Valley have been expanding, and the variety is of high quality and representational of what the rest of California sees of Nevada County – a mecca for the arts,” Curtis said. “The growth of the arts in Grass Valley shows the importance of art as business.”
The WallStreet Cafe and Investment Center opened on Nov. 29 after two years of renovations, said building owner Hunter William (Bill) Bailey, a certified funds specialist, who jokingly calls the business his “baby boomer burnout center.”
“The theme is money by day, music by night,” said Bailey, a Newcastle resident. “Until 4 p.m., it’s quiet, with soft music and cable news stock market and business updates, a little more serious theme. After 4 p.m., it becomes more artistic, with an international music flavor.”
Ray Laflin and Indigo Dawson run the cafe, which serves gourmet organic coffee drinks, bagels, soup, lunch items and baked goods. Bailey meets with financial planning clients at the cafe. Live music is featured on Fridays; poetry and performance art are featured on Saturdays. Art exhibits will be ongoing.
In addition, Laflin will run a recording studio that is being built in back of the cafe. Dawson sells her own line of handmade soaps – Tahoe Soap Company – at the cafe.
“I’m here to promote my financial planning and to enjoy the next 20 years, doing it in a small-town fun setting,” said Bailey, an author of two books on financial planning books a radio show host Sundays at noon on Sacramento radio station 650-AM.
“Ray’s primary focus, in addition to supporting the WallStreet cafe, is to promote local musical artists through the recording studio. Indigo is to support the WallStreet Cafe and to support her retail. It’s like a co-op,” said Bailey.
For more information about the WallStreet Cafe and Investment Center, call 274-2411.
For more information about Sierra Dance Institute, call 477-7644.
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