Scoop: Music in the Mountains and The Center team up in new program to advance our arts

The Center for the Arts and Music in the Mountains are collaborating in a new program that gives MIM a brand new home for some (but not all) of its classical music programs, we’ve learned. The pioneering deal between the two local arts and culture stalwarts underscores growing collaboration among our performing arts groups, providing an economic boon. As longtime local arts patrons, we applaud that!

The Center’s “Company-in-Residence” program was unveiled last night at its annual meeting and season preview at the Gold Miners Inn in Grass Valley (which our FoodWineArt magazine enjoyed). We flushed out more details in follow-up interviews with The Center and MIM to give locals “the scoop.”

Details are still being finalized, but the deal calls for the some MIM concerts and the MIM Youth Orchestra to perform at The Center’s renovated concert center in downtown Grass Valley in 2020. Both boards have signed off on the deal in principal.

The agreement comes as a $4.3 million project to renovate The Center is well underway. Work is set for completion in November and includes a 492-seat theater with retractable seating and flexibility to allow for “intimate cabaret performances, seated concerts, banquets and dance concerts.”

Other features include a state-of-the-art sound system, additional stage and backstage space, a welcoming lobby with expanded bar and concessions, and expanded gallery space.

MIM will continue to offer concerts at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, which includes the Amaral Center, as well as outdoor concerts such as SummerFest at “California’s most beautiful fairgrounds.”

But MIM is working on the logistics of renting The Center’s refurbished performing arts center for rehearsals; some concerts, such as chamber concerts and holiday choral concerts; and the MIM Youth Orchestra’s performances. The Center would be a tighter fit for MIM concerts that include the full MIM Chorus and Festival Orchestra — and, of course, its popular outdoor concerts.

Still, The Center could wind up hosting a significant amount of MIM’s future programming under the deal. The Center also is expected to sign other local nonprofits and performing arts groups under its “Company-in-Residence” program.

At the same time, MIM is moving its offices to the historic Old Post Office building in downtown Grass Valley from Searls Avenue in Nevada City. MIM told us it is excited to join the Grass Valley Downtown Association. (We are longtime members and have been the main sponsor of the GVDA’s annual Foothills Celebration).

The Center’s new stage

We are glad to see our local performing arts groups collaborating. It comes as Grass Valley-Nevada City and Truckee have been named California Cultural Districts, so the timing is ideal.

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.

The spending “pumps vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages and other local businesses,” the report said. It also generates $5.1 million in local and state government revenue.

We are excited about this deal. Our Sierra FoodWineArt magazine promotes the local arts scene, we are Encore members at The Center (donating $1,000 annually as members), and we are regulars at concerts at MIM and The Center.

We have long hoped for more widespread collaboration in our towns and among different groups — which often are at odds, to our detriment. This deal between The Center and MIM is a shining example of going in the right direction. Good going to the staff and boards of both groups!

Here’s a video on MIM’s Young Composer’s project and “Prelude for Yuba Salmon,” which we enjoyed hearing at an MIM concert. More MIM videos are here:

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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