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Grass Valley, CA, October 13, 2020 – Nevada County Arts Council and the County of Nevada are taking the threat of fire to a new level in helping to prepare local artists and arts organizations.

Eliza Tudor, the Council’s Executive Director, says, “With a creative community comprising hundreds of artists, each one of us needs a little help creating a plan. Who should we call in the event of an emergency close to home – and who should we alert in letting others know of imminent danger?”

Riding on the success of Ready Nevada County, an awareness campaign of the Office of Emergency Services (OES), Nevada County Arts Council teamed up with the County to create special Find your Five cards which would appeal to artists and creatives. The idea is increase preparedness by sharing plans with five trusted “Emergency Allies” – and do the same for others.

Jenn Tamo, Senior Administrative Analyst for OES, says, “as we’ve stated from the outset, the more connected we are, the more likely we are to get accurate information in a timely manner and survive an emergency. Family members may not be together during a fire, so consider communication strategies for our loved ones who may spend time with others.”

Sheila Cameron, in her role of media consultant for Ready Nevada County and artist, says, “It’s no different for artists, we have to plan not only for our family and loved ones, but for the most precious elements of our livelihoods, whether it’s our studios, our instruments, our canvasses or our equipment. With a little forethought, many things can fall into place.”

Following on from this, Tudor, adds, “It’s all about small steps. When we learned that our own CAL FIRE Chief, Brian Estes, is a wonderful illustrator himself, it made perfect sense that we would invite him to provide one of his favorite drawings as the first design for our cards. We then invited him as special guest to one of our monthly virtual meetups as a way of welcoming him to the world of the arts here.”

“Responding to this invitation was easy,” says Chief Estes, “I was really honored when my drawing of a 1968 International, California Division of Forestry firetruck, was first pick for a new series of Find your Five cards. I hope, over time, we’ll create more cards showcasing the work of more Nevada County artists, and trust that there will be more opportunities for the County to partner with the creative community with the support of Nevada County Arts Council.”

Chief Estes says that Find your Five cards are a great spur for planning. Once artists have recorded their five Emergency Allies, they are encouraged them to check in regularly, and especially on Red Flag Warning days. Not only this, but to hold each other accountable for maintaining well-stocked Go Bags.

“As Ready Nevada County has taught us – everyone communicates in different ways. Each of us needs to find what works for our group and agree to be there for each other in the event of an emergency,” says Estes.

Find your Five cards for creatives are available in two ways. A printable version is available online for download at Nevada County Arts Council’s Fire Resources pages at nevadacountyarts.org/fire-season-preparedness.

Then, beginning this week, members of our creative community can pick one up from the Greater Grass Valley Chamber, the Nevada City Chamber, Grass Valley Downtown Association, the Miners Foundry in Nevada City and at Center for the Arts in Grass Valley.

Speaking of Nevada County Arts Council’s commitment to emergency preparedness for artists and arts organizations, Tudor says it kicked in a year ago, following a key training session provided by California Arts Council (CAC) and the National Coalition of Preparedness & Emergency Response and Performing Arts Readiness. Nevada County Arts Council invited representatives from eleven partner organizations, including – as State-Local Partner with CAC – the County.

“We learned about cultural placekeeping as a preparedness strategy”, says Tudor, “and we worked with our partners on aims for our community. Now, a year on, have gathered together some really excellent resources that will help us better prepare for future emergencies and respond to disasters. Meanwhile, Nevada County Arts Council has committed significant support towards a project called FORESTFIRE, which promises to be a museum quality installation at the Truckee Community Recreation Center, opening a year from now.”

Nevada County Arts Council’s website speaks of the purpose of FOREST⇌FIRE being to help our community arrive at an understanding about the forest we live in, and the role both of fire in the context of our forests, and our own relationship with it. Through an interpretive art installation and artist led field trips, FOREST⇌FIRE shares a science-based solution to catastrophic fire and offers an economically sustainable, hopeful future for the forest and for those that live both in and around it.

FOREST⇌FIRE, Model, Forest lighting, template, May 2019

More about fire preparedness resources for Nevada County’s creative community can be found at nevadacountyarts.org/fire-season-preparedness, while information about FORESTFIRE can be found at nevadacountyarts.org/forestfire.