Arts For the Schools | New year brings new faces |

Arts For the Schools | New year brings new faces

Cedric Watson and Dirk Powell performed recently for an AFtS OnStage event.
Courtesy photo |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — The recent performance by Cedric Watson and Dirk Powell was absolutely wonderful.

Arts For the Schools again brought great talent to the area, and exposed local kids to wonderful caring folks, who want to help children embrace art and performance.

Arts for the Schools is an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization, funded entirely through grants, individual and corporate donations, and proceeds from public performances.

AFtS has gone through some changes in the past year, and remains an organization that is as strong and committed as ever to providing visual and performing art experiences to the children of the Truckee, North Lake Tahoe, and Incline Village areas.

The first big change came in February when Executive Director Raine Howe announced she was leaving the area to begin a new adventure.

Raine’s enthusiasm and passion for AFtS was infectious. Her departure, while leaving a hole, allowed an opportunity to undertake a different type of structure. Phyllis McConn, a dedicated board member who has been instrumental in the success for AFtS for over eight years, was named volunteer executive director.

The programs and performers being featured in this 30th season were arranged and coordinated by Program Director Yardley Wing nearly a year ago. Yardley also scheduled and organized the student assemblies; handled day-to-day operations and pretty much did whatever had to be done.

The second change came when life called Yardley back to her home town in Missouri in late summer. Propitious timing brought Jennie Pitts Knipe to AFtS at exactly the right moment to fill the program coordinator position. Jennie brings a contagious, can-do spirit, and with her dance and performance background has become an invaluable asset.

The addition of Eve McEneaney of EMC Strategic Development, a qualified, dedicated grants professional with 15 years of grants administration experience, adds expertise in fundraising and marketing.

Expanded research and guidance on new grant opportunities will help AFtS continue to serve our children. With Measure A money covering the Artist in Residence program, funds must still be raised for operations and to bring performing artists to the schools and community. AFtS cannot say “thank you” enough to the community for supporting Measure A and to the oversight committee for choosing the Artist in Residence Program.

Isn’t 85,500 is a huge number? That’s the number of children AFtS has touched during the last 30 years with art education. The need for art education is important as ever in the education of a child. AFtS meets that need with your help. More than 5,200 students will benefit from your donation this year. The third, fourth and fifth-graders in the Truckee, North Lake Tahoe and Incline Village areas will continue to receive enriching art experiences with your help.

Lastly, two new board members were added in 2013, for a total of nine dedicated trustees who continue to build on the strong foundation that is AFtS.

Co-Chaired by Phyllis McConn and Pete Bansen, the board and staff of Arts For the Schools strives to provide the world-class visual and performing artists that will help educate our children and enrich their lives. The changes to the organization have been great opportunities to build efficiencies in operations while adding important assets and resources to continue to bring art education to into the lives of children.

And there is one last number to be shared: 91¢. That is the portion of every dollar donated that goes to directly serve the youth of our area.

Kids need art; AFtS needs your support to help reach those kids.

For more information on Arts For the Schools programs and to make a donation visit

Paula Rachuy is a member of the Arts For the Schools Board of Trustees.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.