Capitol Arts Center

PLUMAS ARTS PURCHASES THE HISTORIC CAPITOL SALOON

It was very unlikely that it could happen, but Plumas Arts was the winning bidder in a foreclosure auction of the historic Capitol Club in downtown Quincy on September 22, 2011.

1906 Capital Club
1906

"We know that some may be confused that Plumas Arts can simultaneously be dealing with significant budget cuts and purchase a building in the same few months," explains Roxanne Valladao, Director of Plumas Arts, "but oddly enough it makes perfect sense. Economic factors have given us both the cuts and the opportunity."

"While many members of our organization and community members share our excitement about this investment," Valladao adds, "we have found that there are also a few question that Plumas Arts would like to address."

Why did Plumas Arts buy a bar?

Plumas Arts bought a building-- an amazing historically significant building-- across the street from the county courthouse. We will not be running a bar.

1930
1930

By the time "The Cap" came to the auction block, the liquor license had been sold and the antique bar had been removed, making it unlikely for continued use as the bar it had been since the 1870's. While sad in many ways that also turned out to be lucky for Plumas Arts. We were seeking a retail space where we could also house our administrative operations with room to have community gatherings and grow new dynamic business ventures.

Don't you already own a building?

No. We have rented space for our offices and gallery for all of our 30 years of operation. In that time we estimate that we have spent upwards of $180,000 in rent alone. We manage the Town Hall Theatre business, and in conjunction with building owners the Townhall Association we are caretakers of the facility, but we rent that building as well.

Why would Plumas Arts want to own a building?

The purchase of the building gives us "a place of our own," so Plumas Arts will be able to look to better invest what we once paid in rent in organizational programming. The building also offers potential for revenue generation so we can continue to increase ways to diversify income sources for Plumas Arts as well as the creative endeavors of others. Most importantly, we are creating an equity asset for Plumas Arts and building hope for the future in a time that has recently brought us a series of funding losses.

Where did the money come from?

Money comes to an organization like ours in a variety of ways. Some program spending is tied to county, state, foundation or corporate grant funds that are expended in the form of contracts for services. We also have earned income programs (concerts, movie business, art gallery), fundraising events and efforts, annually renewed membership support and private donations from those that value our work.

Concurrently we have been frugal with operational spending, energetic fundraisers, creative innovators of new funding streams and proactive fiscal managers: over the past three decades that we have been in business we have dedicated a percentage of our private donations to a "rainy-day/ place of our own" fund in order to be able to take advantage of an opportunity such as this.

Did you use county or state money?

No. We used our "savings" of funds from earned income, private donations and member support to make an investment in the building.

Do you still need county and state money?

Yes, we certainly do.

If we were equate this to a family buying a house, would you ask if the family breadwinner should quit their job? Like that family, we saved for many years with the dream of owning our own home. Plumas Arts still needs to work and earn an income. We still do, and do well, the programs and services that government funding has had the vision to provide support for: the arts, local economic development, tourism, quality of life and the building of a vibrant cultural community. As the turbulent current economy allows we do need, deserve and provide an excellent form of investment for state and county funds.

But, we have also learned how treacherous it is to depend on public funds. In 2001 when the California Arts Council was virtually defunded. We lost 30% of our income. To navigate through that loss, we cut operating expenses and staffing, greatly increased our fundraising efforts and sought out and obtained new earned income sources. That is also the time period when we took on the failing Town Hall Theatre business that we have since regenerated, restored and kept viable performing arts productions and as the county?s last movie theatre.

This year we face another series of county, corporate and foundation grant losses totaling 25% of our annual budget. Once again we cut staffing and operations (already at bare bones) and are seeking out other forms of income. Plumas Arts also restructured our organizational assets by transferring a 25-year accumulated cash "savings" into the purchase of a historic Plumas County structure that we will bring back to the community.

The symmetry is interesting. Again it is also a bit frightening, but once again we are determined to bring the resources of our visionary, can-do organization to this project and enlist the support of many citizens, members and friends who are ready to rally together for something positive in these troubled times. It is not too hard to envision another victory for us all.

How can others help with this community investment?

It will be a challenging time ahead for Plumas Arts. We have drained the bulk of our cash reserve with this investment. We will have moving expenses and there will be renovations to be made to meet the potential of the facility, but this will be joyous work.

Enthusiastic supporters have come to our office, or called, THRILLED with this news and asking how they can help. We tell them "go to more movies, come to our events, shop in our gallery. We may need volunteer help and well, money helps." Upon saying this we have been handed several checks to help with moving expenses and to build this dream. If you are not already a member of Plumas Arts this might give you another reason to join.

Call Plumas Arts at (530) 283-3402, email info@plumasarts.org for more information.

Plumas Arts is a fully tax-deductible 501c3 organization. Please consider making a capital investment in the new Capitol Arts Center.