The Center’s 2019 Gala – Cirque au Centre – raises $136,455 for the arts 

Grass Valley, Calif. (October 15, 2019)— All the stars came out to the Veterans Memorial Hall on Friday, October 11th for The Center for the Arts 2019 Gala. This important fundraising event raised support for The New Center’s arts programming, capital campaign, operations and youth arts education programs.

The sold out event featured a fabulous dinner by Antonio Ayestarán Custom Catering and entertainment by Angela Williams, Tina Marie Kelly, Barry and Zedekiah Friedman, and Christina and Hunter Reed. Guests danced the night away to hits from the San Francisco cover band Pop Rocks

Cirque au Centre was filled with spectacular amusement. The 275 guests were greeted at the Veterans Memorial Hall by a stilt walker and jugglers eager to show off their circus chic for a little photo booth fun.

“The event is growing in popularity,” said Amber Jo Manuel, Executive Director. “I’m excited by the responses from this year’s attendees who said that it was the most fun they’ve had at a recent event. We love that we are able to provide the community with an opportunity to dress up, have fun, and support the arts.” The Center’s OnTheGo programming continues to bring art to our community while the main theater is closed for renovation, but it comes with the extra costs of renting the venue, lights, and sound, as well as logistical challenges. The goal of this gala was to raise funds to help offset the costs to continue arts programming in our community, including our Youth Arts Education Programs, which serve over 7,500 annually.

The Live Auction, led by auctioneer Patrick Desmond, was filled with fun prizes that included a private flight to Tahoe with a retired blue angel pilot, a day with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Detail, a movie night at the newly renovated The Center for the Arts, and a music-filled trip to New Orleans to experience Jazzfest which sold twice! The auction ended in a Fund-the-Need paddle raise. 


Cirque au Centre successfully raised $136,455 for The Center for the Arts.

The Center for the Arts is proud of its incredible staff, crew and volunteers that worked so hard to make this event a success, and would like to recognize Gala Chairperson, Lisa Swarthout, for her commitment to The Center and to the arts in Nevada County

Special thanks to the 2019 Gala Event sponsors including Cornerstone Accounting, Grass Valley Courtyard Suites, Stucki Jewelers, BriarPatch Food Co-Op, SmarterBroadband, Baird: The Lee & Dunn Group, APi-Marketing, Dignity Health, Antonio Ayestarán Custom Catering, Chacewater Winery, Emily’s Catering and Cakes, Kane’s, Foothill Flowers, Foothill Mercantile, Golden Era Lounge, Haven Stead Wine, Lucchesi Winery and Vineyards, David Sobon, River Valley Community Bank, South Fork Vodka, Sunchild’s Parlor and Watershed at the Owl.


Since 2000, The Center for the Arts, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization, has grown into a leading presenter of music, dance, theater, comedy, literary and visual art, and family programming. Typically, The Center presents more than 150 events per year from its location in downtown Grass Valley. The Center is currently underway in a major renovation of its multiuse 21,000 square foot facility in downtown Grass Valley. After the renovation, The Center will have a 490 seat main theater, a large visual art gallery, classroom space, and a 90-seat black box theater. For more information about the renovation, please reach out to The Center’s Executive Director, Amber Jo Manuel.


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