newsletter   february   2014

In This Issue
Focus on a Member
Nevada County Reads & Writes
Keep Arts in Schools Fund
Jobs, Grants & Calls to Artists
Income Tax for Individual Artists
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February is a busy month at NCArts. The first session of our "Art into Cash" Marketing Boot Camp was on February 4th, and continues for 5 more Tuesday nights.  


Also on February 4th, NCArts held a breakfast meeting for 60 artists, educators, and community leaders. This meeting served as a kick-off for NCArts' initiative to support arts education for the students of Nevada County.


Again in the educational realm, but focusing on the adults, NCArts is partnering with ART/OnSite to present 'A Conversation with Daniel Brickman and Julie Baker" on February 9th (see the article below). This will be followed in March by a presentation from Bill Fox (Director of the Institute for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art), presented as a collaborative effort between NCArts, SYRCL, and ART/OnSite.  


NCArts will join other arts councils from around the state in Sacramento on February 12th. The California Arts Council will be releasing a new study about the value of arts education and the impact of the arts on the economy. Additionally, the CAC will be announcing several new grant programs and initiatives.


During this month, NCArts will also be busy planning several major events in the not-to-distant future. Be on the look out for a call-to-artists that will go out soon for the Sierra Festival of the Arts.


As always, we will be working hard to support the great artists and arts organizations in Nevada County. You can help us support the economic and cultural health of Nevada County by joining NCArts. Be a Part of the Arts! Individual membership is only $35 - less than 10 a day!



Brian Buckley, Interim Executive Director
Nevada County Arts



Couple #260 and Couple # 249 by Richard Downs


Focus on a Member: Richard Downs 


Throughout grade school, Richard Downs' best talent was his ability to draw his original ideas and compositions. In high school he wanted to be an artist but wasn't sure how to pursue this goal. His parents bought him an airbrush for a graduation gift and his art career began with airbrushing murals on low riders, drag boats and any kind of automotive surface, including a Frank Frazetta mural on the Commodores' tour van. A few years later, he was accepted into the illustration program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and that was his real training ground to become a professional artist. 


Richard Downs' art-making now combines contemporary aesthetics with the rich history of printmaking to create images that are both current and timeless. He has worked for most United States periodicals and newspapers ranging from Smithsonian to the New York Times and international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.  


Over the past 30 years, his career has involved commercial Illustration, fine arts and teaching, and he now works in a wide variety of mediums dependent on the type of commercial illustration assignment, fine art exhibit or private commission he is working on. Richard says "I love having that kind of flexibility of media today that keeps me on my toes and keeps me from getting stuck in a "one trick pony" rut. The most exciting work that I am doing today has become my wire sculptures. My wire figurative pieces have brought together every element of my aesthetic in figurative drawing, design, and expression and has brought all of it off the wall and into the viewers space."  


For Richard, the most important aspect of his work is connecting to his audience. He appreciates that collectors are investing in his aesthetic (and not just monetarily); it is that they are connecting to his style, that they see themselves in his work and that they want it to be part of their environment and their lives.  


Richard shows his work regularly. In December/January, he had a solo show including monotypes, paintings and wire sculptures at The Transmission Gallery in Oakland. This show introduced
Richard's work to the Bay Area, and was written up in US Airways Magazine. His next solo show opens at Riverside Art Studios in Truckee on Friday, February 7th, with an artist's reception from 5-8pm. 

The show will include Richard's wire sculptures, monotypes and a large painting, and coincides with the High Fives Foundation and CR Johnson Healing Center's "LION HEART" art show in support of their healing center. The High Fives Foundation
is a Tahoe-based organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes that have suffered a life-altering injuries while pursuing their dream in winter action sports.

Richard currently teaches Illustration Practices in the Applied Art and Design department at Sierra College. He loves teaching and working with artists that are just getting a sense of the art world. Having been discouraged by instructors during his student years, his personal goal in his teaching is to encourage and educate and to give the students the right tools to achieve success in their art making.


Richard moved to Nevada City in 1997 with his wife, artist Gwyn Stramler, and daughter, Jillian. They chose Nevada County for its perfect balance of art, music and theatre in a unique small town setting.  Says Richard, "This is a creative community and the friendships that we have made are what we cherish the most in the area. "


You can view more of Richard's work at . To arrange a private commission or studio visit, you can reach him at (530) 205-8939 or 




Daniel Brickman and "Nevada City Alchemy"

ART/OnSite: Daniel Brickman and Julie Baker in Conversation   
On February 9th, ART/OnSite will host an intimate evening with sculptor Daniel Brickman in conversation with Center for the Arts Executive Director Julie Baker.  Brickman is one of eight professional artists selected by the ART OnSite jury to create a work of art along the Deer Creek Tribute Trail in Nevada City.  His much discussed piece "Nevada City Alchemy" sought inspiration from Nevada County's rich mining history and our four-legged friends by drawing a correlation between the two and the notion of dealing responsibly with the environment.

Last Fall, shortly after installation, Brickman's sculptures were the target of vandalism, which resulted in four of five sculptures being destroyed.  Brickman and Baker will discuss the inspiration behind his work, the community's reaction to the work, and what we all learned from this experience.

Brickman hopes this talk will help establish the context for the installation by discussing some related previous works, along with concepts and inspiration for Nevada City Alchemy. "I hope to provide a wider understanding of the work and my ideas behind it than might be gleaned upon initial observation," explains Brickman.

Brickman grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. He spent two years in the school of Architecture at Auburn University before deciding on Studio Art as a lifelong dedication. After undergraduate work, he lived in Zagreb, Croatia for a couple of years. Now, having earned his MFA from The University of California, Davis, he lives and works in Oakland, CA.

"I am continually inspired by the ability of art to communicate information succinctly and intimately," says Brickman.  "As an artist, to have the chance to work with a location such as Nevada City that is so rich in history and visual phenomena was a wonderful opportunity."

The mission of ART/OnSite is to strengthen the ties between the community, the environment and the arts through outdoor art installations along Nevada City's Deer Creek Tribute Trail.   The project is a collaborative effort between Nevada City, Nevada County, Nevada County Arts and The Sierra Fund.  The project received a two-year matching grant of $25,000 in July 2012 from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Initiative.




Nevada County Reads & Writes:
"The Fault in our Stars" 


Nevada County Reads and Writes is a county-wide program sponsored by the Nevada County Libraries and the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools. In this annual event, the community is encouraged to read the same book and participate in subject-related events and activities. 


This year's selection is John Green's luminous, humorous, and heartbreaking book, "The Fault In Our Stars" and it will be  the focal point for an exciting line-up of free activities in February and March.


The Nevada County Reads & Writes writing contests - to write an epilogue to the book - are already underway! There are two contests: one for high-school students and one for the public-at-large and there are cash prizes for the winners in each.  The deadline for entering the contests is Thursday, February 27.   


The official Kick-Off Party will be held on Friday, February 21, from 5 to 7 PM in the Gene Albaugh Community Room in the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City. Local high school students will be performing a reader's theater version of excerpts from the book and a multimedia presentation will highlight the book and the author. Free refreshments will be served.


On Tuesday, March 4, Star-Crossed Lives: Teens and Cancer will be held from 7-9 PM at the Off Center Stage of the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley. This community discussion will feature vignettes inspired by A Fault in our Stars, presented by Dr. Jeff Kane, Sandra Rockman, Dr. Sarah Woerner, , and several actors. After each vignette, the audience is invited to discuss the vignette and its significance. 


Guidelines for both competitions, as well as information about all of the events, are available at the following websites: and





In October, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 571, returning the arts to the voluntary contribution portion of California tax return forms through the new "Keep Arts in Schools Fund". You may now make tax deductible contributions in amounts of $1 or more to support art in our schools. 


"This is wonderful news for California's young people," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "We hope all those who know arts education results in future success for California's children will take advantage of this opportunity to directly contribute to arts education via their tax return."


Interested in helping? It's easy - and deductible! Give a little extra on your state tax return to the "Keep Arts in Schools Fund," and 100% of your tax-deductible contribution is applied to arts education programming by the California Arts Council. The "Keep Arts in Schools Fund" can be found in Voluntary Contribution Section 110 (425) of the "540" individual state tax-return form, and the minimum donation is just $1. Every dollar counts, so please join the California Arts Council and "Keep Arts in Schools" through your state tax return! Learn more at

You can also support arts education by purchasing the "Arts Plate," the iconic license plate with a sunset and palm tree motif designed by California artist Wayne Thiebaud. More information is available at




Jobs, Grants & Calls to Artists  
Arts Grants Administrator Positions
The California Arts Council will be hiring individuals to fill program administrator positions for the first time in over ten years. Currently there are two vacancies to be filled. This is a rare opportunity to join a hard working agency during an exciting time of growth. For more information, click here.

New CAC Grant Opportunities
Grant applications and guidelines are now available for two significant new programs created with one-time funds from the California State Assembly: Creative California Communities and JUMP StArts. Applications are also available for Creating Places of Vitality, Artists in Schools, and Statewide Networks, three of our signature grant programs.

Calls to Artists
The CAC website includes Calls to Artists for state-wide, national and international exhibitions and competitions. The list can be sorted by deadline, date posted, region of eligible artists or discipline. To see the current list, click here.



The Essentials of Income Tax for Individual Artists   
California Lawyers for the Arts is presenting a seminar on the essentials of income tax for individual artists of all disciplines. The seminar is Wednesday, February 12th from 6:30 - 8:00pm at 2015 J Street, Suite 204, Sacramento, CA.

The seminar will address how artists and artists groups can efficiently track income and expense throughout the year and how to correctly file their taxes. Topics will include record keeping, form 1040, Schedule C, and self-employment schedule, deductions, hobby losses, home offices and more.

For more information, and to register online, click here.

The mission of Nevada County Arts is to promote and sustain the visual, literary and performing arts of Nevada County in order to advance the cultural, social and economic life of our community.

If you have ideas about how we might better serve you - the artists and arts organizations of Nevada County - we would love to hear from you! Please email us at  


Please forward this newsletter to anyone who shares your interest in the arts; and if you are not already a member of NC Arts we hope you will become one. Working together we can continue to increase the vibrant energy of the arts in our community!



Top Artwork, left to right:

Richard Downs at Riverside Art Studios   

Lisa Lang at ASiF's Art of Love show at Lucchesi Vineyards Tasting Room