Site of Old Car Dealership Becomes Regional Art Mecca

There’s an excellent article in today’s Sacramento Bee about Grass Valley’s Center for the Arts, once the site of a car dealership:

Grass Valley’s Center for the Arts is a shining example of community support
By Jim Carnes

To look at it now, you’d never guess the inviting Center for the Arts in Grass Valley was once a car dealership.

OK, the lobby is big and grand enough – still – to display several automobiles, but the art on the walls, the three dance studios upstairs and the excellent 300-seat theater at the rear of the room put that sad past to rest.

It took a lot of work, money and community involvement to get the center where it is today – home to local dancers, musicians and theater groups and host to traveling artists with national and international reputations.

The Grass Valley-Nevada City area seems to have attracted an inordinately large number of artists and performers for a place of its size.

Roger Hodgson, founder of the British rock band Supertramp – and one of the first musicians to perform in the center – moved to Grass Valley in 1983, having discovered the place when his band recorded part of its 1979 “Breakfast in America” album there. World-renowned Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser lives in the nearby foothills; star slide guitarist Roy Rogers (a Redding native who established his career in San Francisco) lives in Nevada City, as does composer/harp player Joanna Newsom; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder lives just north of Nevada City – and that’s just a few of the performing artists that call the area home.


“Something in the water,” Baker said when asked what drew all those talented and art-loving people to Nevada County, with its population of only around 90,000. “What made me think I could live here, having grown up in New York City, was the artistic base, the musicians and literary talents who make up the community.”

Wilson agreed that the Grass Valley-Nevada City area “nurtures the art in people.”

Read full article here.

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