Grass Valley, CA, January 12, 2020 – As the State-Local Partner with California Arts Council in Nevada County, Nevada County Arts Council has announced the re-granting of $12,600 among six cultural organizations serving communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Ana Mendez, Tracy Pepper & Daniela Fernández (Photo courtesy of Tracy Pepper of Color Me Human)

Eliza Tudor, Executive Director, says, “Our application season for Nevada County CARES for the Arts closed in mid-December and we have been thrilled with the caliber of work of our applicants. Each organization showed integrity in serving different communities of color through creativity and the arts, and, as we turn the corner on a New Year, we are pleased to be able to reward their work.”

The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recognized that the nonprofit creative sector is a vital part of America’s economy. In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded 40% of its CARES appropriation directly to state and regional arts agencies.  California Arts Council distributed its share of funding to those among its State Local-Partners (SLPs) who elected to opt in. 

Tudor says, “Naturally, we opted in, calling this opportunity Nevada County CARES for the Arts. Our initiative aligned with both the California Arts Council’s public mission and commitment to racial equity, and Nevada County Arts Council’s own equity principles, which respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages, and ensure that all voices are valued and heard.”

The following organizations are now in receipt of funding from Nevada County CARES for the Arts:

California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP) has received $3,000 to support general operations at a time when capacity building to help re-claim its federal recognition is all-important.

Color Me Human has been awarded $3,000 to support its Intimate Stories from the Shadows series, initially sharing stories from three black women. Tracy Pepper, Director of Color me Human, said: “We’re excited to help raise the voices of Black, Indigenous, people of color in Nevada county and thankful for Nevada County Art’s council support of our project.”

Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra (CATS) has similarly received $3,000 in support of its production of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, with monies funding expenses related to the show’s postponement from March, 2020 to 2021, including director, designer, and actor stipends, rents for the Nevada Theatre and rehearsal space, completion of the set and costumes, and marketing. Executive Director, Jeannie Woods, says: ”It’s an honor for CATS to be recognized in this way and we are grateful that Nevada County Arts Council supports our vision of multicultural theatre and diversity in the arts.”

Trails & Vistas has been awarded $1,600 to support stipends for artists and presenters as part of its virtual field trip film, The Dreaming Tree. Jean Varda, board president, and Nancy Lopez, Executive Director, issued a joint statement: “We are grateful to Nevada County Arts Council for its decision to invest in Trails & Vistas’ extra curricula virtual field trip film, The Dreaming Tree, through our support of Latinx students in the Truckee Community. An inclusive and diverse group of artists and speakers in the film, including a member of the Native American Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada, as well as other cultural guides, will be featured.”

Neighborhood Center of the Arts in Grass Valley will receive $1,500 to support three developmentally disabled or intellectually challenged adults of color, whose participation has been severely hampered by COVID, and will be used to purchase art supplies and teaching artists to support these students. Amee Madeiros, Executive Director said: “We are honored to receive this grant. With the Center closed due to our Shelter-in-Place mandate, many of our artists continue to create art. However, many are sad and at times unmotivated to create while away from our community here at the center. This grant allows us to support and inspire our artists – creating a spark of new motivation. We look forward to see what they create!”

Additionally, Grass Valley Taiko will receive $500 towards rent to preserve space for classes which support a centuries old Japanese art form, one that originated in China and Korea, and was then later refined in Japan.

As well as its first priority of supporting Nevada County’s creative sector, Nevada County Arts Council has also been providing peer support and mentoring for Sierra County Art Council in the administering of its own grantmaking process.

Says Tudor, “The State-Local Partner network extends the length and breadth of California. This provides leadership in the arts in every corner of the state, and while not all agencies had the capacity to opt-in to California Arts Council’s re-granting initiative, it felt important to support our neighbors. We were thrilled, at the end of the day, that cultural organizations and less formal groups offering support to communities of color were able to benefit from monies from the state both within and beyond county lines. This support has never been felt more deeply – and particularly in our rural underserved communities.”