Come celebrate your arts center |

Come celebrate your arts center

We live in an amazing community. You’ve heard that before. Why do I say this now? Because Nevada County is a place where art and culture are cornerstones. A place where there is so much talent that we need a venue like the Center for the Arts. Yes, we really need the Center.

Recently the board of directors sent its artistic director, Paul Emery, to Seattle to be part of the Western Artist’s Alliance convention. It’s a gathering of most of the significant arts presenters in the western United States and a place where talent has an opportunity to showcase themselves, a place where acts get booked.

This is a big-time West Coast performing arts gathering. Upon his return, Paul was asked, ” What do the other venues like ours do?” His reply was succinct. “There is no other place like ours that does what we do!”

I’ve sat with this comment. His message became clear to me. It’s not just that Center is so unique (though we, of course, think we’re pretty special). It’s that Nevada County is so special. You know this is true when you try to decide which of the many options for entertainment on any given night you should attend. It’s tough, we know. Sometimes you don’t choose what we present, but this is a high-class problem.

I have estimated that roughly 40 percent of the events at the Center are created and performed by the endless talent that lives right here in Nevada County. The list is long; you know who they are.

Our mission at the Center is to support and present the arts for all of Nevada County and the surrounding areas. I think we succeed in fulfilling this charge incredibly well. Last year we presented more than 150 shows; this year will have more. We bring upwards of 150,000 people to our building throughout the year. The economic benefit – forget about the artistic contribution for a moment – is around $1 million to the restaurants, shops, hotels, B&Bs and Nevada County in general.

On Sunday, Oct. 17, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. we will dedicate the Center to the community and celebrate the completion of the façade. The City of Grass Valley will proclaim that Sunday to be Center for the Arts Day.

We sincerely hope you will take this opportunity to tour the entire facility. Thirty arts and education groups will be there to show you what really goes on in this building almost seven days a week.

We believe it’s important for you to know that the Center for the Arts matters in Nevada County. We want you to understand the depth and breadth of how we serve the community. We also want you to understand the many ways you can be our partner.

We have come so far and made such a dramatic impact on the community. However, I think we have not done a good enough job in letting people know that we do need partners to fulfill our mission.

We are a lean organization. We operate by budgeting only 20 percent of our financial needs from donations, underwriting, grants and memberships. Most arts organizations like us require 40-50 percent (this is a standard across the country).

That’s a huge advantage for all of us. It means we provide enormous value to the community by making partner contributions go farther. So we do need partners, and will continue to have that need. And in many ways that’s good. It means that those of you who believe with us that the arts are a critical component of life in Nevada County, are an integral part of this process.

We are looking for a minimum of 300 new member-donors to join us by the end of the year. We are also continuing to acquire funds for our “Front and Center” campaign to pay off the loan for the façade renovation.

Join us on Sunday the 17th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Experience your Center for the Arts and what it truly means to this community. Become part of a dynamic organization that is bringing all the arts to Nevada County in a way that enriches all of our lives. I love this place!


Jon Blinder is president of the board of The Center for the Arts.

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