Art Works Gallery epitomizes art boom in Grass Valley

“THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS is the focal point of the new arts movement—one that can be traced from the emigration of hipsters and hippies to the high country in the 1960s and ’70s,” the San Francisco Examiner wrote in 1999, in an article titled “The arts boom in Grass Valley.”

Nevada County is no stranger to the arts, it added, pointing out that William Bourn supported the arts in San Francisco with money he made in Grass Valley mining, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder “left the bustle and honk of San Francisco to settle outside Nevada City, turning from beat poetry to write about the night sky and wild turkeys and the continuing migration of true believers to the Sierra.”

The county now has more artists per capita than any other in the state, and Grass Valley and Nevada City have been named among the 100 best small art towns in America, along with Mendocino, Carmel, Ojai and Mill Valley, where woodcut print artist Tom Killion grew up (read more here).

Grass Valley remains at the center of a vibrant visual and performing arts community, thanks to The Center for the Arts, Art Works Gallery, Ellu Gallery, Artists’ Studio in the Foothills and others. Six years ago, 35 juried artists formed the Art Works Gallery, a nonprofit cooperative art gallery in a restored Gold Rush-era building on Mill Street.

With a motto “local art by local artists,” the gallery and its artists have continued to thrive. It has been the winner and runner-up as the “best art gallery” on the “KCRA A-List” in recent years, competing against galleries in Sacramento and the foothills.

The artists’ work includes ceramic, glass, jewelry, painting, woodturning, furniture, fiber art, metal, mosaic, mixed media, photography and sculpture. Their work often showcases the surrounding landscape: the rugged Sierra, wild and scenic South Yuba River, and Gold Rush-era towns. Visitors enjoy meeting one- on-one with the artists to discuss their artwork. The gallery also has imaginative window displays.

Art Works Gallery also is known for its generosity. On Dec. 3, the gallery holds its annual holiday party, called “Art with Heart.” Raffle tickets are sold for artist-donated gifts and all proceeds go to The Food Bank of Nevada County. Last year, the gallery raised $1,222 for the Food Bank.

Art Works Gallery mosaic and ceramic artist Lori Humphrey’s “tribute guitars” celebrate your life, career, album, or favorite songs. She can transform your “special guitar” into a timeless museum quality icon.
Visit “ART by Lori Humphrey” on Facebook.

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