Public art on Truckee’s priority list
Emphasis on arts and culture in Truckee has continued to grow with the town creating a fund in next year’s budget specifically for the arts while continuing work on the Public Art Master Plan.
“This is something that we’ve been working on and has been on the list of things to do for many years,” Nick Martin, administrative analyst for Truckee, said of the master plan. “It will be a guide for the creation of public art.”
The plan includes policies that will define what public art is, potential art locations for art and where the funding will come from.
Last June, the town hosted a community workshop to examine the structure and goals of a Public Art Master Plan. Participants shared a desire to support art organizations and local artists of all types, including permanent and temporary installations as well as live performance spaces. Some also noted that the art should respect the history of the town.
“Community involvement was very important to this process,” said Martin. He said they produced a draft plan in March and plan to take an updated draft in front of the council “very soon.”
Two years ago Truckee became one of 14 designated Cultural Districts in California, following the creation of the Truckee Arts Alliance in 2015.
“On the heels of this energy surrounding the formation of the Truckee Arts Alliance and the Cultural District designation, council decided now’s the time, let’s get this Public Art Master Plan in place,” said Martin.
According to the organization’s website, a cultural district is a “well defined geographic area with a high concentration of cultural resources and activities.” To receive the designation, the town had to go through an extensive process of identifying and mapping art, historical and event assets in Truckee.
“It was a very competitive process. We had to show that we understood what cultural assets we have in Truckee,” said Eliza Tudor, executive director of the Nevada County Arts Council. “Being a cultural district implies and allegiance to a theme of creative placemaking,” said Tudor. “Wherever there’s planning, the arts have a place at the table.”
Though Truckee has held the title for two years now, the town will be required to reapply for the five-year designation in two years. Nevada County is the only county in California with two cultural districts, the Truckee Cultural District and Grass Valley and Nevada City District.
“We are now the only rural county with two, so that’s pretty remarkable,” said Tudor.
Last year the Nevada County Arts Council completed an Arts and Economic prosperity survey for the county. The study included participation from 103 of the 161 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in the county. The council also collected over 1,000 audience surveys at arts and cultural performances, events and exhibits.
According to the study, the arts generated $46.9 million in total economic activity last year in Nevada County. Off that spending, $25.7 million was by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations with $21.2 million generated by the audiences at events with audience members spending an average of $40.44 per person per event.
In total, the arts supported 869 full-time equivalent jobs, generated $20.9 million in household income to local residents and delivered $5.1 million in local and state government revenue.
“We can say the arts and culture in Nevada County is an industry,” Tudor said. “It’s not a charitable thing that competes for favors, it’s a serious industry.”
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.