10-day festival to highlight Truckee’s incredibly creative artistic community | SierraSun.com

10-day festival to highlight Truckee’s incredibly creative artistic community

A watercolor painting of Emerald Bay at sunrise by Eva Nichols, who will participate in a TOAST to Truckee's Creative Community, which runs from July 16-26.
Courtesy Carla Beebe |

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Visit creativetruckee.org to learn more about a TOAST to Truckee’s Creative Community, which is presented by the Nevada County Arts Council, and to view a detailed list of scheduled events.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — While known for its scenic views and recreational offerings, the town of Truckee will showcase its artistic side this weekend into next.

In its inaugural year, a “TOAST to Truckee’s Creative Community” will offer art studio tours, artist demonstrations and workshops, and various events over a 10-day period that kicked off Thursday.

“We can complement what we already have in terms of recreation and natural beauty with the arts,” said Carla Beebe, project director. “We have a foundation, but we don’t have an infrastructure. … That’s the concept — to try to take those assets that are here and create an infrastructure for them where we have a community of artists.”

The signature event for this fine arts festival is the Truckee Open Art Studios Tour, where the public can visit 15 studios in Truckee to meet and talk with 28 artists — many of whom live in town — from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 17-19 and July 24-26.

“The whole point of this is demonstration and dialogue, so you can actually see the artist’s process, and that’s the beauty of it, rather than going to an art gallery,” Beebe said. “You can talk with the actual artist.”

Among those to be featured is Abe Blair, a local photographer known for his landscape images.

“Through events like TOAST, the local and second home residents can have a heightened awareness of the type of art and artist that are living right in there backyard,” he said. “This is also a great time for the artists to gain extra exposure and face time with the community.”

Artists who specialize in photography, jewelry, oil painting, mixed media, woodworking, pottery, textiles, glasswork and sculpture will be featured, with their works available for purchase.

“Truckee has a very diverse and vibrant art community. There is every medium imaginable and the level of skill is very high,” said Andy Blanchard, a Truckee potter who will also be featured in the festival “… TOAST has brought most Truckee artist together in one event, so it will make it easy for anyone to see most of the art in Truckee in a short period of time.”

While the July 16-26 festival is free except for two scheduled film screenings and the artist workshops, Beebe said it can serve as a draw, stimulating town’s greater economy. “The cultural tourist represents a very large population of the general traveler,” Beebe said. “Those people want to have engaged, inspired activities when they travel, and art tours meet that philosophy. It’s (also) a family-oriented event. It attracts all ages.

“… Even if I get 300 people a day coming from Reno, and they have lunch up here, that’s a pretty big bite even if they don’t buy art.”

Truckee resident Loreen Thomas, a full-time oil painter who will be featured in TOAST, said she is assured that the art festival will become a draw for those near and far.

“I’m confident that TOAST will not only raise people’s awareness of the art scene in Truckee, but I’m hoping it could be the beginning of bringing Truckee to a level of art awareness as can be seen in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Telluride, Colo.; and Santa Fe, N.M.,” she said. “Those places didn’t become an art destination overnight, and of course it could take some time for Truckee to get to that level, but it could happen. TOAST is a good start.”

Ultimately, Beebe would like TOAST to become a regular event in Truckee held throughout the year to help support local artists and the greater economy.

“We can be an art town,” she said. “We have the artists here to build on this into a much bigger (event). … I hope it grows into multiple, multi-day festivals throughout the year.”

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