Exclusive: Grass Valley-Nevada City and Truckee recommended for designation as Cultural Districts

Grass Valley-Nevada City in the Gold Country, and Truckee in the High Sierra are among the 14 finalists recommended for designation as State Cultural Districts, a major coup for the region, Sierra FoodWineArt has learned. The recommendation was included in an agenda packet for the California Arts Council’s upcoming board meeting, which was quietly posted on the Council’s website on Thursday.

Our summer issue, now circulating, is a special report on the state’s Cultural Districts, with in-depth reports on Grass Valley-Nevada City and Truckee Cultural Districts. A digital version of our magazine is HERE. The report in our quarterly magazine was timed to coincide with the anticipated statewide decision. “More cities are turning to art and Cultural Districts to foster economic growth, increase tourism and attract the creative workforce needed for the new economy,” we observed in the issue.

The full board of the California Arts Council will vote on the staff recommendations at a meeting Monday at noon in Sacramento. Staff recommendations typically are accepted by the board.

“Staff recommends the Council approve designation of 14 applicants as California Cultural Districts,” according to the packet for Monday’s meeting. “Designation will be granted for five years per state legislation. Additionally, districts will participate in a two-year pilot program, receiving a $5,000 technical assistance stipend per year for two years to support pilot program participation ($10,000 total).”

The 14 districts recommended for state designation represent a broad diversity of California –
geographically, culturally, and artistically – as set forth by the program goals and values. The finalists recommended for designation are:

Balboa Park Cultural District in San Diego; Barrio Logan Cultural District in San Diego; Downtown San Rafael Cultural District in the Bay Area; Rotten City-Emeryville Cultural Arts District in the Bay Area; Eureka Arts and Culture District on the North Coast; Grass Valley-Nevada City Cultural District in Gold Country; Little Tokyo in Los Angeles; Oceanside Cultural District in San Diego; Redding Cultural District in the Shasta Cascade region; San Pedro Cultural District in Los Angeles; SOMA Pilipinas in the Bay Area; The BLVD Cultural District in the Desert region; The Calle 24 Latino Cultural District in the Bay Area; and the Truckee Cultural District in the High Sierra.

Nevada County was the only county in the state with two recommended finalists, a credit to the Nevada County Arts Council under Executive Director Eliza Tudor and her board. In May of 2009 the Arts Collaborative of Nevada County was designated by the Board of Supervisors as the county’s leadership and coordinating agency on behalf of the county’s arts organizations. The Collaborative is now known as the Nevada County Arts Council.  Here’s what the California Arts Council packet said about the Cultural Districts in our region:

District: Grass Valley-Nevada City Cultural District
Context: Rural
Region: Gold Country
City: Grass Valley & Nevada City
County: Nevada

“As well as for their arts, Grass Valley and Nevada City are known for their expanding vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms, and a trail network of outstanding natural beauty. The Nisenan lived here for thousands of years before their incorporation as part of a perfectly balanced ecosystem thriving on the Yuba, Bear and American river watersheds – and, over time, their sacred places are being rediscovered and cherished.

“Steeped in history and with the most famous gold-mining district in California, the District experienced a ‘cultural revolution’ from the mid-20th Century that has reshaped the local economy and which continues to influence the statewide arts scene. Starting in the ’60s, Beat Generation and deep ecology poet Gary Snyder, singer Utah Phillips and a host of authors and musicians settled here. Now, for over 50 high-tech companies – including a virtual and augmented reality hub – creativity occurs in peaceful, natural environments far from major urban centers.

“Between them, Grass Valley and Nevada City are home to the Nevada Theatre, the oldest theater in California, and over 100 arts-related organizations producing upwards of a thousand events a year, scores of annual festivals, street fairs, art walks and studio tours, and a generous base of artists and makers.”

District: Truckee Cultural District
Context: Rural
Region: High Sierra
City: Truckee
County: Nevada

“The Truckee Cultural District, located in the High Sierra, is well-known for its forests, waterways, and spectacular mountain views, which attract visitors and residents alike. These assets offer diverse and readily-accessible outdoor recreation and open space opportunities for which Truckee is famous. This natural setting stimulates an outdoor adventure culture and provides compelling opportunities to interpret, capture and inspire artistic and cultural creation. In addition to the captivating outdoors, Truckee is a designated Historic District and presents a rich combination of historic assets that highlight Truckee as the gateway to westward expansion and the site of the ill-fated Donner Party. These include numerous historic buildings which give Truckee a unique sense of place—including an historic jail museum, Donner Memorial State Park and Museum, interpretive trails, railroad museum, and the Pioneer Monument.

“Over the years Truckee has attracted and grown a vibrant, entrepreneurial, artistic community which has birthed over a dozen art galleries and exhibit spaces, created continuous year-round artistic and cultural events, inspired numerous public art pieces across Town, and most recently created a new 3,000 square foot makerspace that offers the community a place to learn, build and practice a wide variety of art and creative skills.”

Our magazine was cited

Our magazine was proud to have been acknowledged in the selection process: we were identified as a “cultural resource and media asset” for our region. In addition, our extensive reporting of the region’s arts and culture scene was included in the proposals.

It is fitting that our magazine’s 10th anniversary coincides with including our region in the California Art Council’s statewide program, a high honor. We look forward to reporting how our Cultural Districts further evolve, just as we have for the past 10 years.

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