Nevada County Arts Council calls for Art in Storefronts submissions for Grass Valley, Nevada City | TheUnion.com
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Nevada County Arts Council calls for Art in Storefronts submissions for Grass Valley, Nevada City

Victoria Penate
Staff Writer

The Nevada County Arts Council is leading an initiative alongside the Grass Valley-Nevada City Cultural District to fill vacant storefronts with art installations.

They have put out a call to artists, inviting all western Nevada County creatives to submit, with a deadline of Sunday.

Artists an apply online: http://www.nevadacountyarts.org/call-to-artists/art-in-storefronts-2020.

The project is supported by the cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City, their chambers of commerce, and the Grass Valley Downtown Association. The Nevada County Economic Resource Council has supported the project with a grant as well.

According to Ruth Chase, director of the Art in Storefronts initiative, the project takes its inspiration from the “slack space movement,” a phenomenon observed in other cities in which art is used to revitalize a commercial area’s image in a time of financial difficulty.

“This particular go-around, we’re pursuing art installations instead of displays or window decoration,” said Chase, adding that artists are encouraged to use unconventional formats or media to construct art installations. She said that, in contrast to window art, which has commonly been two-dimensional, some artists have discussed using light projection, incorporating video, or creating sculpture for this project.

“One of the things this project is allowing is not just working with the businesses, but more hands-on work with the talented artists,” said Chase. “Some artists have shown in museums and are well equipped to handle a window installation and some wouldn’t define themselves as artists but are taking on the challenge, and we have everything in between.”

Chase said some artists have incorporated safe ways for passing viewers of their submitted installations to interact with them, which she encourages. For example, an installation may involve leaving a written message or following a displayed digital code.

Grass Valley Downtown Association Executive Director Marni Marshall said she appreciates the potential interactive aspect of the installations as they add the function of gallery to downtowns, which are in the process of finding safe ways for people to shop and dine amid COVID-19.

She said this has been an opportunity for Grass Valley and Nevada City organizations to work together and foster resilience for the county.

At this time, there are five storefronts in each of the two cities intended for Art in Storefronts installations.

The Nevada County Arts Council plans to notify chosen artists on Tuesday and have the installations in place from Aug. 28 through the winter holiday season.

“The more that we decorate our downtowns, the more vibrant they are, and that definitely attracts new business,” said Marshall, emphasizing the importance of this effect for the vacant storefronts. “It’s not a vacancy, it’s a space that’s full of opportunity and hopefully this art will highlight that.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.


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