Wednesday, June 10, 2020.
Grass Valley, CA. On Thursday, June 4, Center for the Arts members, staff, board, and community members participated in The Center’s first-ever Virtual Annual Meeting. Over 100 participants gathered online to celebrate The Center’s resilience and learn more about the path forward.
Some of the guests had stopped by The Center earlier that day to pick up dinners prepared by The Ham Stand. Dinner guests also enjoyed wine from Haven Stead, coffee from Caroline’s and Kombucha from NC Kombuchary. Some guests were in their living rooms, others were out on their decks, many raised a glass and waved at friends they hadn’t seen since the stay-at-home orders came from the state almost three months earlier.
After a quick preview of the 20/21 season now on sale, Executive Director Amber Jo Manuel greeted everyone and the thank you’s began.
“We don’t do this alone, it takes a lot of planning, a lot of support and a lot of advice… we appreciate everything people contribute.”
Despite renovations that left The Center dark for all of 2019, they were able to showcase over 130 Visual Artists through Open Studios and Gallery events at their temporary Plaza location as donated by Lance Amaral. They even hosted a gallery opening during a PSPS event using battery powered lanterns. Over 13,500 patrons attended 28 shows OnTheGo through partnerships with local venues like Foothills Event Center and Grass Valley Veteran’s Memorial Hall. They also hosted over 1,300 youth and families through Youth Programming events including Summer Camps and Family Fun Days, and awarded over $5,000 in scholarships in 2019. Another 500 youth attended 2019 California WorldFest at the Nevada County Fairgrounds where The Center sold nearly $500,000 tickets. WorldFest is one of many 2020 shows and events that have been cancelled or postponed.
The Center continues to prove that the arts are essential and that The Center is resilient. They are opening their retail gallery on June 12 with limited capacity and safety protocols in place, this is a great way for the community to safely appreciate the current exhibit by local artist Nancy Mintz while enjoying the new bar and lobby areas large enough to accommodate 35 guests with social distancing.
On June 26th, they will be rolling out their new broadcast series, From The Center, where guests can watch concerts performed on the new stage online. The first show is local favorites Earles of Newtown who played at The North Star house last year as a part of their OnTheGo series. As state and county recommendations and restrictions from COVID-19 continue to evolve, so do The Center’s plans. In addition to streaming, shows will begin to resume at reduced capacity when safe to do so.
With their big and beautiful newly renovated space, The Center also sees opportunities for private parties and small events. The venue rentals team is excited to start booking the venue for 2021 and they’ve put together a Summer Exclusives Menu including dinner on the stage, private sound demonstrations, and gallery gatherings dubbed “Room to Celebrate”. If you want to gather friends while maintaining social distancing you may rent the gallery and lobby built for 244, to host up to 35 guests.
The Center is also getting creative with their biggest fundraiser of the year, their annual Gala. Last year they raised $136,455 with a celebration at Vets Hall. This year, the gala will be outdoors to minimize risks associated with COVID-19. They have approval from the city to shut down Mill Street and seat guests from Main Street to Bank Street.
A large portion of The Center’s fundraising dollars are used to support Youth Arts Education Programs. This year’s school closures and budget cuts are leaving a larger gap in arts education in our community. The Center for the Arts is committed to continuing its Summer Camps with COVID-19 modifications in place, and growing the after-school program for fall. They are also excited to launch a new series of workshops for adults. They believe the arts are essential in supporting communities through crisis and critical to our collective recovery.
Watch the recording of the Virtual Annual Meeting here.
Learn more about Open Gallery dates, From The Center shows, Arts Education and the 20/21 season in the menu above. Consider becoming a member and donating to support this important community resource.