Schoolhouse Illustration

The North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center gives the rural San Juan Ridge community a local place to meet, to share its creativity, and to participate in a wide variety of enriching activities. Located 20 miles north of Nevada City, the Schoolhouse was built by the mining community in 1875, and has a long tradition of serving the community as a school and public meeting hall.

We strive to provide programming that enhances our community life. Over the years we have hosted hundreds of unique cultural events with artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world. We also host film screenings, community forums, classes, festivals, and the nationally renowned Sierra Storytelling Festival.

Sierra Storytelling Festival

June 28th & 29th, 2024

storytelling festival

Storytellers are masters of many arts. They command the stage, like a Broadway actor; they orchestrate words into suspenseful tales like a bestselling author; and they are your favorite therapist who shares just what you need to hear.

The tellers at the 2024 Sierra Storytelling Festival are all such masters of their ancient craft. Comedians, musicians, authors, voice-over artists, teachers: they each bring the best of their skill to create unforgettable tales at the unforgettable Sierra Storytelling Festival.

We’d love to have you join us!

Become a Member

For 35 years the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center has prospered and grown through the support of a dedicated membership. Members receive discounts on events, a quarterly newsletter, discounts on building rental, an invitation to the annual membership party, and the privilege of being part of a one-of-a-kind rural arts organization.

Sign up to Volunteer

With one part-time employee, the Schoolhouse depends on volunteer labor. We welcome help with events, mailings, baking, maintenance and workdays, office tasks, and many other jobs. Volunteering is a great opportunity to get involved in the community and meet new friends and neighbors. It’s really a lot of fun! If you are interested, please sign up here.


We offer our space at an affordable cost to the community and encourage you to rent the space for classes, private parties, and community events (members receive a significant discount on rental).

Many couples have held their ceremony under the towering pine trees. We have an outdoor amphitheater that seats hundreds. Our indoor space can accommodate up to 200 people. There are two restrooms in the building. Additionally, we have a back studio room that can be used as a green room, staging area for caterers, or a dressing room.