New report shows the growing economic impact of our arts and culture scene

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

Nevada County’s nonprofit arts and culture sector generates $46.9 million in economic activity and supports 869 full-time equivalent jobs, making it a powerful economic engine, according to a new report titled “Arts & Economic Prosperity 5.”

Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations are businesses in their own right, the study said. They spent $25.7 million during fiscal year 2018 to employ people locally, purchase goods and services from local establishments, and attract tourists.

They also leveraged $21.2 million in additional spending by cultural audiences — “spending that pumps vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages and other local businesses,” the report said. The activity generates $5.1 million in local and state government revenue.

“This economic study sends a strong signal that when we support the arts, we not only enhance our quality of life, but we also invest in Nevada County’s economic well-being,” according to the report, released on Thursday night to a full house at the Eric Rood Center in Nevada City.

Randy Cohen, vice president of research and policy for Americans for the Arts in Washington D.C., presented the findings.

Added Jon Blinder, president of the Nevada County Arts Council: “We hope that our survey will be acknowledged as a foundational building block toward the creation of a countywide cultural plan.

“It recognizes that Nevada County is unique in California as the only rural county home to two state-designated California Cultural Districts — Grass Valley-Nevada City Cultural District and Truckee Cultural District and that our creativity extends beyond these districts to every corner of our county.”

Blinder continued: “We hope this valuable data will assist local leaders across all sectors in making decisions that will affect future generations, our quality of life, the livability of our region, and the likelihood of investment in it in the years to come.”

The rest of the article is here.

Congratulations to Sun Sentinel for winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service

Doreen and other journalists in the Sun Sentinel newsroom after learning of Pulitzer win (Credit: Reuters photo in the New York Times)

I was thrilled to see the South Florida Sun-Sentinel win the Pulitzer Prize for public service this week.

The Pulitzer judges cited the Sun Sentinel’s stories for “exposing failings by school and law enforcement officials before and after the deadly shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.” This is the second time the Sun Sentinel has won the Pulitzer for public service reporting, the most prestigious Pulitzer award.

I worked at the Fort Lauderdale newspaper in the ’80s after graduating from Northwestern Univesity, writing about the airlines, including Eastern Airlines. There was a lot of labor unrest, with former astronaut Frank Borman at the helm. It culminated in Eastern’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

We visited Sun Sentinel friends in Fort Lauderdale this past Christmas, exchanging memories. We all keep in touch on Facebook — a medium of choice for most of us “boomers.”

A colleague was Michael Connelly, now a mystery writer. Other longtime friends still work there. One of them, Doreen Christensen, is pictured in The New York Times in a newsroom photo.

Congratulations Sun Sentinel friends and former colleagues! It was a challenging and heartbreaking assignment in extreme circumstances. And the staff has been shrinking in the wake of continued disruption in the newspaper business.

A link to the stories is here.

Sierra Poetry Festival keynote Forrest Gander wins Pulitzer Prize

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

Forrest Gander, the keynote speaker for the Sierra Poetry Fesival on April 27 in Grass Valley, today won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.

Gander won for his anthology Be With, “a collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.” The prize was $15,000.

“He has been called one of our most formally restless poets, and these new poems express a characteristically tensile energy and, as one critic noted, ‘the most eclectic diction since Hart Crane,’” according to the Pulitzer website.

Gander is a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow and has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim, Whiting, and Howard Foundations.

He has been awarded the Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship and was the Briggs-Copeland poet at Harvard before becoming The Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University.

The 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners in 14 journalism and seven letters, drama and music categories were announced at Columbia University in New York.

The Sierra Poetry Festival — now in its third year — kicks off as National Poetry Month is celebrated across America and marks California’s first Arts, Culture & Creativity Month.

During April over 30 local and regional poets of all ages will read, recite, or sing out their poetry at ten events across Nevada County – all leading up to a mainstage event on April 27 at Sierra College’s Nevada County campus in Grass Valley.

Nevada County Arts Council inaugurated Sierra Poetry Festival in 2017 alongside California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia.

“It was a seminal moment for poetry in rural Northern California,” said Eliza Tudor, Executive Director at the Council. “Not only were we acknowledging our own rich culture of literary arts, but inviting some of the nation’s most inspiring poets and presenters.

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

In a stirring triumph, Tiger Woods captures the Masters

Editor’s note: We are not big golf fans, but we watched the Masters this weekend to see this historic sports comeback. As The New York Times observed, “Woods’s victory on Sunday had an epic feel to it.” 

“Tiger Woods completed a comeback from personal and professional adversity on Sunday, capturing his fifth Masters title and his 15th major tournament with a victory that snapped a decade-long championship drought and instantly returned him to the top of the sports world,” as The New York Times is reporting.

“It was a monumental triumph for Woods, a come-from-behind victory for a player who had seen so much go wrong on the course and off after his personal life began to unravel on Thanksgiving night in 2009.

“Woods triumphed on Sunday in almost stoic fashion, playing with shrewdness and determination over the final stretch of holes while the other players who were grouped with him on the leaderboard took turns succumbing to the pressure of trying to win the Masters.

“Only when he tapped in his final putt did Woods let loose with a joyous shout that revealed how much the victory meant to him.

“At 43, Woods now becomes the second-oldest winner of the Masters, behind Jack Nicklaus, who won here in 1986 at the age of 46. Woods’s victory immediately reverberated beyond golf and, for that matter, sports.

“The win led to a rare moment of agreement between President Trump, who tweeted, ‘What a fantastic life comeback for a really great guy!’ and his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. ‘To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit and determination,’ Obama tweeted.

“Woods’s victory on Sunday had an epic feel to it. Here, on arguably the sport’s biggest stage, was its seminal figure, suddenly back on top, which is where he was a decade ago when everything suddenly went sideways for him.

“What followed back then was a long, painful period of his life, in which his body repeatedly broke down and his marriage collapsed. But after prevailing on Sunday, Woods finds himself back in the pantheon of the sports world’s biggest stars, back on a level with LeBron James, Serena Wiliams and Lionel Messi, back in a space he entered with his first Masters victory in 1997, when he was a skinny, 21-year-old a year removed from Stanford who declared “Hello World” in a classic Nike commercial.

“The long drought Wood endured between major championships — his previous one came at the 2008 United States Open — would have once seemed inconceivable. The same could be said for the 14 years it took for Woods to finally win his fifth title at Augusta National, a course so suited for his game that Nicklaus once predicted that Woods would collect more than the combined 10 Masters titles that he and Arnold Palmer, the first two golfing titans of the television age, won there.”

The rest of the article is here.

CATS presents M. Butterfly at the Nevada Theatre to a full house

The Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra presented M. Butterfly to a full house at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City last night. The show was well received.

M. Butterfly runs until May 4 at the historic theater. “A tale of love, deceit, and espionage,” as last night’s program noted, adding that is rated “R” for some adult content.

The show received the Tony Award for best play in 1988.  It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1989. This is CATS 25th anniversary production.

“The play is based on a true story,” observes Jeffrey Mason, who is directing the play along with his wife Susan. The Masons were enjoying the performance in the audience last night.

Chinese food appetizers were served to the crowd after last night’s show, a longtime tradition for Saturday’s “opening night.” (The first show was on April 11).

Our Sierra FoodWineArt magazine is glad to be a sponsor of this show, as well as other CATS events. Thanks to CATS for another fine production and thanks for bringing multicultural theatre to the Sierra for 25 years.

In the ’90s the shows included A Thousand Cranes, with Rashomon in 2000 and The Joy Luck Club, as the program handed out to attendees last night noted.