FutureWatch Auburn 2019: Arts, water, business

By: Gus Thomson and Julie Miller Of the Auburn Journal
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Sculpted heads by Jim Lee Studios line the front windows at General Gomez Arts and Events Center. Coppelia Burns and her husband David operate the center.

Julie Miller Photo

What’s ahead for 2019?

The Auburn Journal poses the question to local arts, water and business leaders to find out what’s on their minds as the year turns and the future starts to unfold for Auburn and Placer County.

Today, we hear from Placer County Water Agency public affairs manager Ross Branch, the General Gomez Arts & Events Center’s David Burns and Auburn Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Keith Nesbitt:


Ross Branch

Two issues Placer County Water Agency will be watching very closely in 2019 are the possibility of a water tax and regulatory proceedings on the Water Quality Control Plan for the Sacramento San Joaquin Bay-Delta.

The Water Quality Control Plan process will redefine the minimum water quality parameters that must be maintained by responsible parties to maintain delta health.

In an effort to protect our region's interests, PCWA has been working with key stakeholders from river systems throughout the state, including the federal and state government, to find a solution that would balance the needs of local salmon runs, water supplies for homes and farms, and the delta ecosystem.

PCWA believes finding a voluntary agreement between parties will produce a better result than a regulatory process.

Last year, PCWA worked with other water providers to defeat a water tax proposed by the state Legislature. The tax would apply to all customer water bills statewide, and would be sent to the state government to fix drink water problems, mainly, in the Central Valley.

While PCWA supports efforts to ensure safe drinking water for every Californian, a statewide water tax is not the solution. We expect a new version of the water tax to be introduced this legislative session.


Keith Nesbitt

The Auburn Chamber is ready for the new year.

Our first mixer is going to be co-hosted by the Chamber and the Placer Visitor’s Bureau/California Welcome Center.

Our annual Installation and member awards dinner is Jan, 18 at The Ridge.  We are starting the year out in style.

One of our main areas of focus this year is to help the Auburn Fire Department and Cal Fire to bring a greater awareness of fire safety, the need for preparedness, and if needed, evacuation procedures.

Look for more exciting monthly evening mixers this year, complete with entertainment and special recognitions. We are upgrading marketing opportunities as well.  The Chamber will rock in 2019!


David Burns

General Gomez Arts and Events Center is welcoming in 2019 with a greater focus on arts education and instruction, in tandem with more emphasis on community events. We are also planning to expand our options for private events.

One goal for 2019 is to connect even stronger with our Auburn community for both civic and artistic events.

The can’t-miss Martin Luther King celebration is this month. The Winter Storytellers event will be back with a fun day for all ages. February brings back the Tibetan Monks for 11 days to construct a sand mandala painting. This is an awe inspiring event that yokes together spirit with culture. In March, Placer Community Theater will be performing “Please Don’t Drink the Water,” a play by Woody Allen. They will be returning in the fall for a second play.

In May, Carolynn Basque and I will be traveling to Adelboden, Switzerland to visit the birthplace of Ernst Wilhelm Burns, our great-grandfather. He manufactured the General Gomez Cigar, the namesake for the center.

2019 will bring more art classes with visiting artists, and with our artists in residence: Cathy Cline, Candi Martin Baker, Linda Green and Max Redpath Kennedy. The Clay Lab will be open to the public with monthly ceramic sales and they will be expanding classes. Jim Lee will have a clay sculpting class.

New classes at The General Gomez will include paper flowers, sewing lingerie and basic sewing, fibre arts and jewelry making.

This spring we will host our annual Blooming Art Show along with a mother-daughter tea and fashion show. For Halloween we will be having a mask-making workshop followed with a mask art show and auction. All art exhibits scheduled for this year will be posted on our website.

For our more spiritually minded community members, a weekend psychic/spiritual fair is also being planned.

To complete the diversity of arts and culture at our 808 Lincoln Way location, people can visit the offices of Blue Cat Studio, creators of dynamic website and graphic design, Rocky and Natalie Zapata with HipHop Congress, and our newest addition, PARC (Protect the American River Canyon).

Schedules for new art classes and art exhibits TBA on our website:

And hopefully, this month we’ll have a revamped website. This is our year to step things up a bit.