Arts for the Schools | Tahoe City resident’s fifth-grade art comes full circle
Special to the Sun
Arts for the Schools’ mission is to bring professional art to the students of our community. AftS was created because founder Terry Yagura believed the arts were an essential part of a complete education, and professional artists would provide the highest quality of learning experiences for students.
Each year we bring many professional performers to the Tahoe/Truckee area for students to experience the amazing artwork of others first hand. And we also provide students with our fantastic Artists in Residence.
With these opportunities, students are able to become familiar with art forms and be encouraged to learn more about styles of art, as well as have hands-on experience to create their own art.
Each year we are so thankful for donations made to AftS from residents and non-locals who find our mission important.
Without their thoughtful donations it would be nearly impossible to continue to bring these artists to Tahoe Truckee Unified School District students and the community at large.
This year, along with her wonderful donation, we received a letter from a contributor who shared why she felt it was so important to give to AFtS. We found the letter encouraging, so we asked her if we could share its content.
THANK YOU MS. K
“I would like to make a donation in memory of my 5th grade teacher in San Diego, Silvergate Elementary in Point Lana.
“Ms. Mary Kniazeff was a very gifted teacher, impacting my life and my four sisters! She brought attention to my artistic talents which I have carried throughout my life. May this gift help others excel in their arts.
“A little story — In the last two years I was contacted by Ms. Kniazeff’s family. Ms. K, as I called her, had become ill and her family moved her into assisted living. In the process of clearing out her home her daughter found a package of all of my artwork. She researched and found me in Tahoe City, my home, where I raised my two sons, now 24 and 22. Her daughter sent my 5th grade artwork to me.
“Ms. K recently passed and in her memory I make this donation.”
— Tina Slaughter, Tahoe City CA
It is people like Tina who help us continue our efforts to bring art education to the students and residents of our community.
And we are so thankful for people like “Ms. K” who give their students positive influence and encouragement so they feel supported in their art work.
As the saying goes “it only takes a spark” — a small spark of hope and praise that allows students to keep working on their artistic dreams, a small spark of hope that art is not worthless but worthy, a spark of acknowledgment that art can be more than a hobby, it can be a lifetime achievement.
Art is a gift, from those who teach it to those who grab onto it, love it and keep creating art to share with others.
If you know an artist who has encouraged you, taught you, influenced you in any way, thank them.
This is a gift that was freely given and can be passed on from one person to another with no strings attached. Pass it on.
Bethany Lund is a member of the Arts For the Schools board of trustees.
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From classroom sessions behind a computer screen to missed dances and games, the class of 2021 has endured much during the pandemic.