Sierra College Art Department and the Nevada City Film Festival, with additional support from The Sierra College Foundation, Nevada County Campus, are pleased to present a new free speaker series that connects artists in all mediums, with students and the community.

The first event kicks off Friday, February 24, 6pm, in the Multipurpose Room at Sierra College, Nevada County Campus with a screening of the award-winning documentary film “Tell Them We Were Here” (88min, USA) followed by a Q&A with the film’s co-directors Griff and Keelan Williams.

Rooted in the belief that art is a reflection of the place from which it emerges, “Tell Them We Were Here” chronicles artists living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area and how they extend the historical legacy of Bay Area activism. Embedded within the art practices of the featured artists we see the most pressing issues of our time, Prison Reform, Homelessness, Racial Equity, Feminism, Environmental Justice, Income Inequality.

“We are so excited to screen “Tell Them We Were Here” and bring Griff and Keelan to Nevada County,” shared Nevada City Film Festival executive director Jesse Locks. “The film won Best Documentary at NCFF in 2021, and has gone on to have an incredible run at notable film festivals and venues such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and UC Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive. It’s a must-see for artists, creatives, activists, students, Bay Area expats and anyone who believes in a worldview that emphasizes creativity and community over capital.

YouTube video

Framed within the last 25 years of art-making in the Bay Area, the film is not an all-encompassing historical document, but rather a glimpse into a select group of artists who’ve chosen a less worn path. It touches on the disappearance of cultural communities due to gentrification and economic instability and reminds us of how vital creative communities are to healthy societies and political change.

“Tell Them We Were Here” is directed by father/son duo Griff and Keelan Williams. Griff is an American painter, publisher, and gallerist, founding Gallery 16 and the pioneering fine art printmaking workshop Urban Digital Color in San Francisco. Keelan is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, and has produced, show and edited short films, documentaries, concert films, and music video.

“We (the Art Department) have been working towards this for a long time,” said Matthew Gottschalk, Sierra College Applied Art and Design Photography Technology Specialist. “We see our role as the art department at this particular campus of this particular community college in this particular community as being an entry point to an international perspective or conversation about artmaking, as either a profession or creative pursuit. It can’t be overstated the value of exposing our students, and community, to a wide range of professional artists working in all mediums and from all corners of the world.” 

Sadie Barnette in TELL THEM WE WERE HERE
Sadie Barnette in TELL THEM WE WERE HERE

The film features artists Sadie Barnette, Amy Franceschini, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Alicia McCarthy, Jim Goldberg, Tucker Nichols, Nigel Poor, Michael Swaine, and also includes appearances by Devendra Banhart, Dena Beard, René de Guzman, Tommy Guerrero, George McCalman, Cliff Hengst, Larry Rinder, Apsara DiQuinzio, Glen Helfand, Tabitha Soren, Ramekon O’Arwisters, Eleanor Coppola, Ala Ebtekar, Erin O’Toole, Matt Gonzalez, Ana Teresa Fernández, Hal Fischer, Kevin Killian, Phil Ross, Jim Melchert, and Natasha Boas. It features music by Marc Capelle, Vetiver, Virgil Shaw, Clare Rojas (Peggy Honeywell), Tommy Guerrero, Kelley Stoltz, Devendra Banhart, Fruit Bats, Monte Vallier, and Pat Mesiti-Miller.

“We hope that these events will be interesting and inspiring and show our students and community members in Nevada County, either for the first time or reaffirm, that they can be part of the larger creative conversation and that Sierra College is a resource and entry point into that conversation,” added Gottschalk.   The Sierra College Nevada County Campus offers drawing, black and white film photography and ceramics. They also offer on a rolling basis various painting classes such as watercolor, acrylic and oil, as well as sculpture, graphic design, and digital filmmaking. The art faculty are all highly trained, both academically and professionally, and bring an exceptional level of expertise and creativity to the classrooms.  

WHAT: Sierra College Art Department and the Nevada City Film Festival with additional support from The Sierra College Foundation, Nevada County Campus present “Tell Them We Were Here” plus Special Q&A with filmmakers Griff Williams & Keelan Williams

WHEN: Friday, February 24, 6pm, (Doors Open at 5:30pm with light refreshments)

WHERE: N12-103 Multipurpose Room, Sierra College, Nevada County Campus

250 Sierra College BLVD, Grass Valley, CA.


INFO: Free event parking