Earth Art: A year-round passion for some local artists

From the spring issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine, circulating this week:

IN THE ’60S, RACHAEL CARSON awakened environmental consciousness with her book “Silent Spring.” In the ’70s, Earth Day — on April 22 — was founded as a worldwide environmental “teach-in.” Now over 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the world’s largest civic observance.

Artists have long been involved in Earth Day, organizing art exhibitions, live art demonstrations, workshops and other activities. Local artists also are holding Earth Day art exhibits.

For some artists, earth art honoring nature, ecology and wildlife is a year-round activity. Painter Jerry Venditti is one of them. Jerry and his wife, Deenie, moved to Rough and Ready from Sebastopol two years ago. He recently began showing his artwork at The Louvre gallery in downtown Grass Valley. “Painting is a spiritual endeavor,” says Jerry. “It’s a way to share the beauty and essence of things with others.”

His portfolio includes birds, bees and waterfowl, and the exotic wildlife of Africa, as well as botanical subjects and landscapes. Jerry is known for his trompe l’oeil artwork—a technique that creates the illusion that it exists in three dimensions.

His art has been displayed at exhibits and galleries in San Francisco; Taos and Santa Fe, NM; Aspen, CO; Scottsdale, AZ; and Newport Beach, among other places.

Jerry is passionate about conservation. “Nearly 100 elephants are killed in Africa every day for their ivory,” he says, bringing up singer-songwriter Billy Joel’s involvement in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s “96 Elephants campaign” to end wildlife trafficking.

He also points to honey bees dying off at unprecedented rates, the demise of nearly all migratory bird flyways in California, and the diminished number of waterfowl. He donates proceeds from his artwork to protect wildlife; 75 percent of proceeds from one called “King of the Pride” will be split between the Panthera Foundation and WildiZe Foundation.

Jerry also belongs to the prestigious “Artists for Conservation,” the world’s leading art group supporting the environment, and he is one of only 83 artists whose work will be shown next month in an international traveling exhibit in China. “We are part of, not separate from, this Grand Design,” says Jerry.

The Louvre Gallery
Locally owned and operated, they have been serving the foothill communities and beyond for over 30 years. The Louvre is an art gallery, art restoration and framing shop in downtown Grass Valley. (Images: Jerry Venditti)

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Scientists, feeling under siege, march against Trump policies

“Thousands of scientists and their supporters, feeling increasingly threatened by the policies of President Trump, gathered Saturday in Washington under rainy skies for what they called the March for Science, abandoning a tradition of keeping the sciences out of politics and calling on the public to stand up for scientific enterprise,” as the New York Times is reporting.

“As the marchers trekked shoulder-to-shoulder toward the Capitol, the street echoed with their calls: ‘Save the E.P.A.’ and ‘Save the N.I.H.’ as well as their chants celebrating science, ‘Who run the world? Nerds,’ and ‘If you like beer, thank yeast and scientists!’ Some carried signs that showed rising oceans and polar bears in peril and faces of famous scientists like Mae Jamison, Rosalind Franklin and Marie Curie, and others touted a checklist of the diseases Americans no longer get thanks to vaccines.

“Although drizzle may have washed away the words on some signs, they aimed to deliver the message that science needs the public’s support.

“’Science is a very human thing,’ said Ashlea Morgan, a doctoral student in neurobiology at Columbia University. ‘The march is allowing the public to know that this is what science is, and it’s letting our legislators know that science is vitally important.'”

The rest of the article is here.

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Happy Earth Day!

Our son left the house this morning in his boots and work gloves and walked down to Pioneer Park to help with SYRCL’s Earth Day cleanup.

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Ted Nugent, Sarah Palin and Kid Rock visit the White House

Editor’s note: You can’t make this stuff up!

“Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and Sarah Palin had a fete to remember at the White House for several hours Wednesday night, as President Trump treated the high-profile supporters to a white-china private dinner, a room-by-room tour and free-range policy chat.

“Mr. Nugent — a guitar demigod, knife-between-the-teeth hunter and conservative provocateur — offered an inside glimpse of a gracious, relaxed and house-proud president with ample time to offer his thoughts on a wide array of topics, from entertainment to existential geopolitical perils.

“’We were there for four hours, man!’ Mr. Nugent, a 68-year-old Detroit native, said in a telephone interview on Thursday, using a four-letter expletive to signal his amazement at Mr. Trump’s willingness to spend so much time with his three casually dressed visitors.

“‘He gave us a wonderful personal tour of every room and talked about the origins of every carpet and every painting — there was a Monet — and then we had dinner,’ said Mr. Nugent, who has referred to former President Barack Obama as a ‘mongrel’ and to Hillary Clinton with an array of unflattering epithets.

“The encounter included a tour of the executive residence, a grip-and-grin session with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office and an impromptu snapshot — featuring a sneering Ms. Palin — in front of Mrs. Clinton’s official portrait as the three guests and their families left through the East Wing.”

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A Sense of Place

From the winter issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost in Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

FEW PEOPLE DO A BETTER JOB OF creating a sense of place than Robert Frost—in his case, describing life in rural New England. In our region, we have many small communities and towns that have strong identities and character. It is deeply felt by locals and visitors.

Examples might include a snowy evening on Broad Street in Nevada City, a postcard-perfect scene; the rows of Victorian homes in Grass Valley, crowned by the Art-Deco-style Del Oro Theatre; or the historic buildings in Old Town Auburn. “Soul of Place” is the theme of Nevada County’s first annual Sierra Poetry Festival.

Downtown Loomis and Lincoln have their own charm, and Truckee is redolent of a true Western town. Other towns to the south include Sutter Creek and Plymouth in Amador County, surrounded by vineyards that date back to the Gold Rush.

Our region’s small towns are worth celebrating as other municipalities build out at breakneck speed, in some cases jeopardizing the open spaces and wildlife corridors that have defined the American West. These cities—hungry for tax dollars to “feed the beast” of city services—risk losing their own sense of place, becoming cookie-cutter replicas of one another. In the end, that can be bad for business.

The growth debate has created some friction within the region. In the foothills we often hear the refrain “Don’t Roseville Nevada County.” In Tahoe, some locals have complained about the “Coloradoization” of ski resorts, renaming it “Tahoe-rado.”

It’s a balancing act, to be sure. We appreciate much of the capital improvements at the ski resorts—new chair lifts, lodging and better dining options—and remain hopeful that Tahoe will retain its sense of place.

Besides preserving their heritage, towns with strong identities have become little “economic engines,” drawing recreational enthusiasts such as skiers, mountain bikers and fishermen to escape from the “big city,” as well as people looking for shopping experiences besides malls. Our vineyards and craft breweries are a popular draw, and our farmers markets, with fresh, local food, are going year-round.

Performing arts groups—such as The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley— also foster an arts and culture scene that draws people from all over. Some decide to stay, or start a business.

To ring in the New Year we dedicate this issue to our small foothill towns that create a sense of place in our region and help create a sustainable economy.

(Photo: Elizabeth Carmel)

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Did Facebook just sign the death warrant for the smartphone?

“It’s no secret Mark Zuckerberg is pinning Facebook’s prospects on augmented reality — technology that overlays digital imagery onto the real world, like Snapchat’s signature camera filters,” as Business Insider is reporting.

“At this year’s F8 conference, taking place this week, Zuckerberg doubled down on the company’s ambitious 10-year master plan, which was first revealed in 2016. According to this timeline, Facebook expects to turn artificial intelligence, ubiquitous internet connectivity, and virtual and augmented reality into viable parts of its business over the next decade.

“To accelerate the rise of augmented reality, a big part of the plan, Zuckerberg unveiled the Camera Effects platform — basically a set of tools for outside developers to build augmented-reality apps that you can access from the existing Facebook app’s camera. That would theoretically open the door for Facebook to host the next phenomenon like ‘Pokémon Go.’

“While this announcement seems pretty innocuous, make no mistake — Facebook is once again putting itself into direct competition with Google and Apple, trying to create yet another parallel universe of apps and tools that don’t rely on the smartphones’ marketplaces.

“This time, though, Facebook is also declaring war on pretty much everyone else in the tech industry, too. While it’ll take at least a decade to fully play out, the stuff Facebook is talking about today is just one more milestone on the slow march toward the death of the smartphone and the rise of even weirder and wilder futures.”

The rest of the article is here.

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Stone House “soft opening” is Wednesday

More details in the spring issue of our magazine, circulating at the end of the week.

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