Art Works Gallery: winning regional honors for its local artwork

ARTWORK IS MORE WIDELY available than ever, revealing new and up-and-coming talent. Arts education also is on the rise. The California Arts Council, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2016 (see box), is investing millions of dollars in communities across California, including our region.

Nevada County is a growing arts hub: It has more artists per capita than any other county in the state. Historic Grass Valley is at the center of a vibrant visual and performing arts community, thanks to The Center for the Arts, Art Works Gallery and other venues.

Few places represent a thriving local art scene more than Art Works Gallery. With a motto “local art by local artists,” the Art Works Gallery features the work of 32 juried visual artists in a restored Gold Rush-era building on Mill St.

All the artists live and work in the foothills in and around Grass Valley and Nevada City. Their work includes ceramics, jewelry, paintings, furniture, fiber arts, mixed media, photography, sculpture and glass.

Much of their work represents the beauty of the local region, either through the materials they use or though the visual landscapes depicted—the wild-and-scenic South Yuba River, lakes, the historic towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City, and the surrounding foothills. Local materials often are used and include Nevada County clay, locally grown gourds, local woods and precious metals including gold.

Now in its sixth year, the gallery is winning regional honors: It has been the winner and runner-up as the “best art gallery” on the “KCRA A-list” during the past two years.

California Arts Council Turns 40

In 2016, the California Arts Council in Sacramento celebrates 40 years. Much of its success comes from the involvement of Nevada County’s artistic community.

In the ‘70s, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Gary Snyder of the San Juan Ridge as the first chairman of the new state arts commission. Last year, the California Arts Council awarded about $37,000 to The Center for the Arts as part of its Creative California Communities program to expand WorldFest.

(Art: “Three of Hearts” by Eileen Blodgett)

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