The Animal Houses Have Arrived...And Then Some

Back last summer when the Animal House Revisit-TIN project was mostly just an optimistic glint in the eyes of KVMR 89.5 FM and the Nevada Theatre collaborating with the Nevada County Arts Council, nobody knew if inviting artists, builders and other creative types would end up working out. 

So far, it sure has. 

The concept was to ask artists to submit design ideas  for some sort of creature home or habitat that reuses some of the tin gathered from the dismantled sheds that stood where KVMR's new building and the Nevada Theatre's new backstage now are at Spring and Bridge streets in downtown Nevada City. 

Now the resulting projects  from 20some contestants are being put on public display in area businesses and ultimately will be auctioned off at a party, fundraiser and competition Sunday, March 26 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Miner's Foundry. 

"I feel like the participating artists have birthed a bunch of Animal Houses for sure," says KVMR Board of Directors President Diane McIntire with a broad smile.

"They (the houses) are really so much more creative, colorful and whimsical than I expected," she adds. "Let's just say the artists definitely pushed the limits."


The two dozen or so shelters include housing for, of course, dogs, cats and birds. But add in chickens, fish, turtles, squirrels, owls, bats, yes, owls and bats, a bee habitat and even a worm farm and this is getting to be pretty interesting.

"We're really pampering our pets with these," McIntire explains. "They are creative and almost all functional for our community of animal-loving people."

Yes, they are also artistic pieces, of course. 

"Now you don't need to have pets to bid on them or own them," Diane admits, adding with a wink, "But be careful, one might move in on you if you don't watch out."

There are two replicas of KVMR's actual new building and tower, one of which is called "Owl Love KVMR" and is intended to be an owl house, with detail down to windows holding posters of upcoming events, only this time featuring, yup, owls.  It's by Martha Jones, Chad Varner and Phillip Donaldson and is on display at Briar Patch Market.

And Greg Zirbel's interpretation of the new KVMR digs is at Four Paws Animal Clinic on Searls Avenue in Nevada City.

Then there's the brightly colored "Chicken Pagoda" designed by Gene Meseck for those animals with interest in Asian architecture.  You'll find it at Simply Country on Rough & Ready Highway. 


"A lot of artists have re-purposed many other things in their designs," notes McIntire.

That'd include Dave and Sandy Brown, KVMR volunteers who designed and installed wall displays of instruments, radios and radio station memorabilia throughout the new KVMR building when it opened two years ago.

They're in the Animal House  mix with what they call "Living Together in Harmony", consisting of an adjoining doghouse, bird cage, fish bowl and cat house. 

"It's completely made with recycled or re-purposed materials and objects we found," Sandy told a group of friends as she showed them the work recently. "You got your dog in his 'Home,' see it says so right above the entrance, you go down the street past the birds and fish and turn down this, um, alley where the Alley Cat lives, of course."

She said if the Harmony isn't right among the animal types, the piece can become four separate shelters.  It's on display at B&C Hardware & Supply. 

Western Sierra Youth Build designed a variety of bird condos made from local cedar and based on designs from Bear Yuba Land Trust for bluebirds and wood ducks, with hinges on one side and secured against raccoons and other predators.  They're at Plaza Tire & Auto, Nevada City. 

Other participating artists include Martha Jones, Rob Katz, Jivan Swann, Judy and Eric Nielsen, Laura Jane Coates, Melissa Ramsey, Yvon Dockter, Ralph Henson, Christopher Streetman, Philip Story, Dan Davis, Grace Robinson and Don Madden, among others. 

Gypsy Cat Wagon/Henhouse by Melissa Ramsey


Other businesses and locations with Animal Houses currently on display include:

--Event sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited

--Best Friends Animal Clinic

--Incredible Pets

--Old Republic Brewery

--Nevada Theatre

--Mercury Cleaners in Grass Valley


--Earth Store

--Three Forks Bakery & Brewing

--KVMR Miss Rumphius' Community Room


Then on Sunday March 26, the action moves to the Miner's Foundry, 325 Spring Street, downtown Nevada City.

That's where there will be both a live and silent auction of all the houses, with 30% of the proceeds going to the artist, a portion going to NC Arts and the rest to the Bridge Street Project benefiting the fund drive to pay off the costs of KVMR's new building and the Nevada Theatre backstage and renovation projects. 

Entertainment will feature the band Possum and essays read by KVMR's Molly Fisk, emcee is KVMR board member Phil Northcutt and the auction will be run by Melinda Booth. 

Food will be available for purchase from Horn  of the Bull Taqueria and Cheri's Ice Cream, plus there'll be a no-host bar.

According to McIntire, "rumor has it Flo The Fish (from SYRCL) and the Rotary Duck may be there, although I don't think either of them currently homeless." 

Brian Buckley and Stan Miller of NC Arts brought that organization into the event's fold, with McIntire and fellow board members Sharon Connor, Adela Wilcox and Harriet  -- plus Nevada Theatre manager Tom Taylor -- busy at work on the concept as well.

Thus, "Revisi-TIN Animal House, From Rust to Roost" was born. 

And now the fun begins, well, continues. 

Owl Love KVMR by Martha Jones, Chad Varner & Phillip Donaldson



WHO: KVMR 89.5 FM, Nevada Theatre & Nevada County Arts

WHAT: Revisi-TIN Animal House Celebration Fundraiser with Live/ Silent Auction, Party & Competition with music by Possum & reading by Molly Fisk

WHEN: Sunday, March 26, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: The Miner's Foundry,, 325 Spring Street, downtown Nevada City

TICKETS: $5 at the door.

INFO: or 530/265-9073



An intimate house concert featuring Stevie Coyle (formerly of The Waybacks), Glenn Houston (formerly of Houston Jones) and KVMR favorite Joe Craven (in still another band configuration) will be broadcast live 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. this Sunday, March 19, from the KVMR Community Room (89.5 FM, streaming). 

Plus the sold-out show becomes quite the multimedia event, since it will also be videostreamed live on the radio station's Facebook page.

it's a busy weekend for the station, with a trial broadcast of "The Beer Show" Friday at noon on St. Patrick's Day with co-hosts Wesley Robertson and Celebrator Beer News editor/publisher Tom Dalldorf.

Saturday night (Mar. 18) features a live remote broadcast from the Auburn Events Center featuring Americana/rockabilly artists Wayne (The Train) Hancock and Big Sandy & His Fly Right Boys (8 p.m., 89.5 FM,