Center for the Arts Executive Director Julie Baker to step down

The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley (“the Center”) today announced that Executive Director Julie Baker has decided to step down on September 15. After 8 years of overall leadership of the non-profit organization, Julie is looking forward to focusing on her passion for the arts without day-to-day management responsibilities.

The Center’s Board of Directors (“the Board”) is grateful to Julie for her dedication and key role in the Center’s success, and is very pleased to announce that Julie will continue to support the Center on a consulting basis and as an advisory council member. Julie, the 15-person staff, and the Board are all committed to a smooth leadership transition and to continuing to enrich the community with a wide variety of arts programming. The search for an exceptional new Executive Director is underway.

Board President Betsy Swann Brown commented, “The Center is celebrating 16 fabulous years of artistic enrichment in this community, including over 150 events per year and the fantastic California WorldFest held in July at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Julie has worked hard to bring high quality programming to our local community, and we deeply appreciate her many contributions. The Center is also proud of Julie’s vision which has inspired a Capital Campaign and renovation plan for The Center that will take The Center into its next phase of success. Julie will continue to consult on the Capital Campaign which will convert the facility into a 506 seat venue. I am fortunate to be a part of such an active and committed board supporting an incredible organization of staff, volunteers, and members.”

Executive Director Julie Baker added, “After 8 years of growing the Center to the organization we have today, I want to get back to my true passions of programming, artist representation, and arts advocacy by starting an arts consulting business. I love the Center, I love the people, I love all the things that The Center represents. I’m proud to say we’ve built a strong organization with a great brand, an excellent professional staff, and a highly skilled board that will continue to support and govern the organization during this transition.”

The Center thrives with the support of many talented people, including a 14-person Board of Directors and 16-person Advisory Council made up of community leaders and experienced executives, as well as a skilled staff of 15 professionals and a volunteer pool numbering over 900. As a non-profit offering a wide array of programs, including free family and youth events, the Center relies on support from generous donors and members totaling over 1,000 individuals, businesses, and other organizations.

Julie reflected, “The Center’s visibility in outlying regions will continue to make us a viable economic engine for the county. The Center continues its commitment to building Nevada County as a destination for the arts. I thank all the donors, members, staff, the board, volunteers and artists for the respect and support they have shown me over these last 8 years and I am confident we will find the leadership necessary to continue to build upon The Center’s successful foundation.”

Board Vice President, Rick Bergquist, adds “We wish to congratulate Julie and thank her for her service, and we look forward to the next chapter for this wonderful community organization. With the support of this special community, our many members and donors, capable staff and volunteers, the Center for the Arts is confident and excited for the many good things in the years ahead.”

The Center for the Arts has become a hub of the arts for Nevada County and offers a variety of events to a large demographic. With more than 150 performances a year, audiences of all ages, and patrons from outside the area including Placer County, Sacramento, Tahoe, Reno, and the Bay Area.

The Center is committed to bringing a diverse array of programming including music, dance, theater, film, visual art, comedy, youth arts education and literature. The Center manages and maintains a multi-use 21,000 square foot facility in downtown Grass Valley which includes a 300 seat Main Theater, two visual art galleries, classroom space, and a 90 seat black box theater. The Center further provides marketing and production services to support local artists and arts organizations and collaborates with other area non-profits to provide event services and fundraising support. For further information, you can reach the board at

—The Center for the Arts

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