Travel Gold Country
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From a symphony to galleries, artists thrive in Gold Country (2)


The Auburn Symphony takes its mission statement seriously and acts on it accordingly. “To enrich and engage our community, across all generations, through the gift of music,” reads the simple declaration and the symphony’s various programs do those things.

The only community orchestra in Placer County presents four major Masterworks concerts a year at the historic Placer High School Auditorium. But Anne Brown, the symphony executive director notes it’s the first show of the year which get the most attention.

“We start off the season every year with a free concert in the park in Auburn, which generally draws over a thousand people,” Brown said. “We also do a Messiah singalong every December and we have a family concert in February that is designed for families and younger kids. It’s wrapped around our educational outreach program.”

Music director and conductor Peter Jaffe creates popular audience friendly programs which feature traditional classical composers such as Ravel and Dvorak along side moderns like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams.


From its earliest incarnations, Blue Line Arts has had a vision to support the arts in the Placer County region. The 5,000square-foot space houses several galleries and an education space.

“Our gallery is a little over 10 years old but we get comments all the time that it’s the best art gallery in the region,” said Brooke Abrames, co-executive director of the gallery. “It’s definitely the most modern contemporary art museum in Placer County.”

Blue Line hosts about 15 exhibitions a year rotating shows every four to eight weeks. Their education programs include classes designed for both adults and children and include drawing, ceramics and water color painting.

The gallery also has what it calls “Symphony Nights” which are actually all kinds of musical performers like Japanese taiko drumming, the Golden State Brass quintet and the Auburn Symphony Woodwind Quintet.

“One of the things we’re best known for is our Third Saturday reception. We’ve tried to expand that to more of an art walk throughout our city,” Abrames said. “It really is a great social event for people who are interested in the arts and also for the artists.”


Now in its 40th season, the Sierra Rep puts on nine main-stage shows per year at two locations — the original East Sonora Theatre and the Historic Fallon House Theatre in Columbia State Historic Park. They have also started producing a popular cabaret series. A true community resource, the company maintains a staff of 25, employing more than 100 artists each year.

The company has more than 1,500 subscribers and plays to over 45,000 audience members each season.

Members of the company wear many hats so actor and director Jerry Lee also works in outreach and marketing. Though the company has had great success with popular musicals, they are most excited about how their audience responded to a recent drama. “Intimate Apparel,” a story about an African American dressmaker in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, was an unexpected hit.

“We saw a new culture of ticket buyers, which encouraged us to find plays which speak to underrepresented factions of our community,” Lee said.


“A little wine, a little paint, a lotta fun!” is pretty catchy, as slogans go, and it perfectly sums up the attitude of Judy Grossman’s “Brush & Cork.”

The business was conceived to create an easy going, no pressure, creative experience. Grossman, who also own JG Designs, has both an art degree and a teaching degree. She been both a professional artist and teacher for more than 30 years.

She’s painted murals across the U.S. and designed and directed the mural in downtown Sonora for the Sonora Farmers Market.

For her various painting classes, she provides all the materials and the students provide the “libations and the snacks.” She even has “Paint Your Pet” classes and the occasional “Mimosa Sunday.” The classes provide step-bystep instruction in acrylic painting and there’s no experience needed to enjoy your time in the studio