2020 has seen a profound shift in our communal psyche. In late February, just three weeks before our Governor issued a shelter-in-place order for the whole of California, Nevada County Arts Council hosted The Business of Art.
Little did we know, as we welcomed close to 200 creatives for a day of professional development, that this would be the last time for at least a year we would spend in one another’s company in such numbers. These were precious moments…
By mid-April, on completion of our COVID-19 Early Impact Study, arts organizations in Nevada County estimated total financial losses of up to $10 million as a result of COVID-19.
We said at the time that it was too early to properly estimate the devastating losses to our industry, and that only later surveying would lend a more complete picture. We now know this to be true – yet our community has been generous.
Advocating that the arts sector should be eligible to apply to the Nevada County Relief Fund, we then created a fund of our own to support local professional artists; launched an online festival to support this effort called WHAT A RELIEF!; and provided online COVID-19 resources for our creative community and once monthly online meetups for our creative sector.
Simultaneously, we opted in to a state program to regrant further CARES Act funding to organizations and groups that support communities of color through cultural programming. Our initiative – which will disburse these funds by year-end, is called Nevada County CARES for the Arts.
Meanwhile our new Art in Storefronts initiative is shedding a whole new light on “window shopping.” The installations of eleven artists across our downtown areas inhabit formerly vacant storefronts, sharing a message of hope and resilience, industry and innovation. Our California Cultural Districts are open for business!
This coming week Nevada County Arts Council is launching its Shopping with Artists initiative, which will provide you with a fabulous, local, online shopping experience as we approach a holiday season like none other, and supports local professional artists during challenging times. Watch this space as more artists join in.
All this activity is on top of our regular programming, which draws upon state funding to support local investment.
Earlier this year, in partnership with Nevada County Office of Education, we completed the county’s first ever Strategic Plan for Arts Education, representing a beacon of hope for all students from kindergarten through high school.
We followed this with the launch of an online version of our celebrated Artists in Schools Program, ensuring that every student in every school district has access this year to fun, curriculum-bound arts education.
As the New Year approaches we are setting in motion a virtual version of Poetry Out Loud, and in January our Youth Arts Action initiative will see us working with a new partner, Bright Futures for Youth, formerly NEO, to provide important arts tuition outside traditional school hours. Together, we are investing in our young and in our future.
As November draws to a close, we celebrate our local Nisenan Tribe and our collective work through Nisenanim Ni, or I AM NISENAN. It is National Native American Heritage Month and, importantly, Nisenan Heritage Month in the Sierra Nevada. As proud partners with Nevada City Film Festival, we are honored to be working in tandem with the keepers of this place we call home.
As we consider our future and our mountain homelands, we look to our forests for the solution to the growing risk of catastrophic fire in California. Despite steep competition for funding – and with a little help from you – we are on track to mount FOREST⇌FIRE during 2021.
So join Nevada County Arts Council in the spirit of giving. Support our work to advance the cultural, social and economic life of our community through the lens of the creativity.
We want Nevada County to be known as the ultimate place to live and work – for everybody. A place where businesses thrive, our children receive the best education, and where we live in harmony with each other and our mountain home. A place, too, where our creative sector is supported, for understand that in places where culture thrives, so do its people.
Through your gift to us you affirm the importance of art to life, history, community and growth – and we thank you for your investment.
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