The talented and spirited Director of the Nevada City Film Festival has a second role as the Marketing Director for the Miners Foundry. Today Jesse Locks shares her thoughts on community connections, historical preservation, and the importance of sharing stories, plus a shout out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Are you originally from Nevada County?
Yes, born and raised, but I moved back to Nevada City in 2007 after being gone for ten years. During that time I went to college, lived up and down the West Coast while working in publishing.
How did you first discover the Miners Foundry?
The Miners Foundry has always been a huge part of my life. I remember the Seven Hills Medieval Feast, going to Fright Night (for the kids) and seeing bands like Cake perform, but I think the most profound show was the two night concert for Roger Hodgson’s Rites of Passage show. I grew up with his daughter and son, and that was the first time I was part of a major event.
What were your initial impressions of the Foundry?
I’ve always loved the Miners Foundry. It feels like a second home. Even today I walk through the halls and feel so connected to not only my personal past but that of my community’s. I have such respect for David and Charles and the many others who had the vision and foresight to protect this cultural and historic asset for future generations to enjoy.
How long have you been working for the Foundry?
I think it has been three years now.
What do you like the best about the Miners Foundry?
I love that so many different community and performing arts events happen under the roof of the Miners Foundry, but what I like best is that connection to the past. It is imperative for us to know where we come from to understand where we can or need to go. I love that the beautiful stone fireplace has warmed people for more than 150 years.
What are your favorite types of events at the Foundry? Why?
In addition to working for the Miners Foundry I work with several organizations that hold events (Nevada City Film Festival, Paul Emery, Music in the Mountains, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, etc) there as well plus I was one of the founders of the wildly successful Nevada City Craft Fairs and instrumental in bringing the Red Hot Chili Peppers to perform, but my favorite types of events are the student spelling bees. It is so much fun to have so many young people together at one time.
Do you have a funny or touching story to share about the Foundry?
Many year’s ago the Miners Foundry asked me to help produce a video for their 150th anniversary and part of a series of short films for Nevada County Arts. I had the opportunity to interview many individuals who were instrumental over the years including Alan Haley, Wyn Spiller, Ellen Davis, Paul Matson, and Charles Woods and Mike Nevius who have both passed away now. To listen to them all share their stories and their love of the building brought tears to my eyes and I felt this overwhelming responsibility to help protect and preserve the building. I think the only place in Nevada County that is more loved than the Miners Foundry is the Yuba River.
What advice would you give someone planning to attend an event at the Foundry?
Take the time to walk around the building and look at the various artifacts and relics, read the signage and soak in the history, because there is no other place like it in the world.
Would you encourage others to become involved with the Miners Foundry? Why?
Absolutely, as a community entrusted with these beautiful historic buildings we must get involved in the continued preservation and up keep of them, and that includes donating one’s time or talents and definitely becoming a member.