The art scene on South Shore has made notable strides in the past year, but more work, and time, is needed to truly ingrain the arts into the community. And there are plenty of hurdles.
From larger regional issues — a transient population, numerous governmental jurisdictions and a lack of affordable housing, to name a few — to more specific issues such as poor communication and coordination, local artists and art organizations have quite a few obstacles standing in the way of a vibrant and visible art scene on South Shore.
What is present, though, is energy.
"I feel like what we're seeing a lot in the community in general is the community is rising up, joining forces and then getting things done," Rebecca Bryson, a board member on the Tahoe Arts Alliance, said. "We're coming in and … saying 'here's our vision, here's what we want to see, here's the resources we bring to the table' and then working with the local governments and businesses to make that happen."
Bryson spoke to the Tribune in mid-March when more than 50 members of the arts community met to discuss strengths, weaknesses and a vision for the future. While there was no shortage of discussion, the turnout was what many remarked about.
"I was surprised at how diverse the group was," said Julie Nelson, a Zephyr Heights resident.
While the turnout for the meeting, which took place during one of March's snowstorms, would be impressive on its own, multiple speakers, including Tahoe Arts Alliance (TAA) Board President Rae Matthews, mentioned that there were a handful of other art-related events that evening.
The issue of competing events is one TAA, a nonprofit that formed in 2016, hopes to address through a master calendar.
"There's a lot going on," Bryson noted.
After forming in 2016, TAA started gaining momentum in 2017, as the Tribune previously reported. The organization aims to expand on the successes from the past year and become a central organizing force for the local artist community.
The organization is holding a membership drive at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in the Lake Tahoe Community College Theater. TAA will be offering annual memberships at a discounted rate of $40 (annual memberships normally run $50). The nonprofit also will begin seeking leadership and committee members for its long-term goals.
While there are plenty of hurdles, as was noted throughout the meeting in March, Bryson said there has undeniably been progress made, particularly with local government agencies and nonprofits.
One of the next steps will be to bring in more members of the business community — beyond the usual players.
"I think we have a long way to go," said Bryson, "but there's a lot of passion in getting there."