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Plumas Arts and Almanor partner for success

Roxanne Valladao
Plumas Arts
Special to Feather Publishing

Plumas Arts was established in 1981, as a tax-exempt, private public benefit corporation that serves as the local arts planning and primary programming agency for our county.

Since its inception, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors has been authorized Plumas Arts to serve as the county representative to the California Arts Council's State-Local Partnership Program where, through an annual grant application process, they have ranked consistently as one of California's model local arts agencies.

Plumas Arts' mission is to cultivate communities in which arts and culture flourish.

This small budget, can-do organization continually strives toward that mission and is enriched by a diverse and devoted membership base, dedicated staff and board and a track record of mutually beneficial partnerships.

With help from the Plumas County Office of Education and the California Art Council, arts education programs in all county elementary schools have operated since 1989.

Web-based and print information services about cultural events, artists and artist services are provided to the entire county by Plumas Arts.

The organization is also one of the primary events producers in the region and they also host a gallery featuring the work of resident artists, and manage the county's last movie theatre, in Quincy.

Today, we want to focus on the work that Plumas Arts does in Chester.

"Providing services to an entire county of this size and geography is difficult to begin with. With the limited staffing and annual budget that we have to work with, and the diversity of programs that we offer, we are provided with an even greater challenge," said 25-year veteran Director Roxanne Valladao.

Over its nearly 30-year history Plumas Arts worked to produce events and programs in communities all over the county with some success, but "sometimes we were seen as outsiders" said Valladao.

"It was not until we learned how to cultivate genuine, mutually beneficial partnerships that we really became capable of accomplishing our goals of countywide service."

In the Almanor Basin, in addition to the countywide arts education programs and artist and cultural events information services, Plumas Art produces monthly Words & Music nights as well as the Almanor Art Show. A Chester Words & Music series, modeled after the 22-year-old program in Quincy, was established in 1999 by Tom Archie and is now coordinated by Jeff Bryant and Jan Davies.

The Almanor Arts Show was "gifted" to Plumas Arts in the early 1980's when the group of artists that had managed the show since 1969 felt it was appropriate to transfer show management to the fledgling local art agency.

In the last two decades Plumas Arts has built this event into one of the most respected art shows in the region.

The show now brings thousands of people into the Almanor Basin filling motel rooms, restaurants and businesses over the weekend. Proceeds fund art education programs employing Chester artists to work in Chester Schools.

Partnerships in the Almanor Basin are perhaps some the best examples of the organization's successes.

"We found that we were working towards similar cultural goals as were the Feather River Fine Arts Association, Lake Almanor Community Foundation and Chester Community Chorus as well as the Chester/Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce.

"We identified where goals overlapped and began working together on programs that share the burdens and multiply the benefits," adds Valladao.

"In collaborations with these entities Plumas Arts supplies promotional, insurance, and in some cases, artist fee support.

"We are co-producers of the Brews & A Banjo, Art Around the Lake and recent Art Tour. Plumas Arts Board members also serve on the Chester/Lake Almanor Chamber's Art & Culture committee where collaborations for future joint ventures may take root.

A model partnership with the Feather River Fine Art Association offers joint memberships for artists to reap the benefits of both entities for a discounted price. The joint members are also offered space at the Almanor Arts Show in what has come to be known as the "FRFAA Village."

No doubt, there are and will be challenges in these partnerships where there is always a necessary level of give-and-take.

Valladao said, "Especially now, when financial and human resources are stretched so thin, it just makes sense to work more together. Many hands working together make more things possible, plus there is also the added feel good benefit of making new alliances based on common needs."

For Plumas Arts in the Almanor Basin the benefits of partnership and collaboration have come to speak for themselves.

To find out more about Plumas Arts, go online to their website at or call the office at 283-3402.

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