Arts for the Schools | Thanks to many in Tahoe Truckee | SierraSun.com

Arts for the Schools | Thanks to many in Tahoe Truckee

Paula Rachuy
Special to the Sun

The Story Pirates performance company sailed into Tahoe Truckee thanks to Arts for the Schools.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Whether you have turkey or not, spend the day with family or not, go shopping or not, this is traditionally recognized at the time of year to give thanks.

A time to show an expression of gratitude for whatever you may be thankful.

To live in a community that realizes how important art is in the education of a child is definitely something for which to be thankful. There are numerous individuals, businesses, and groups that make Arts For the Schools programs possible.

Thank you: to Terry Yagura for having an idea 30 years ago and acting on it. Terry firmly believed that arts were an essential part of a complete education and that professional artists would provide the highest quality learning experiences for our students. Knowing the benefits of including arts in education for children, Terry started volunteering in class at Kings Beach Elementary. Terry wrote grant requests and raised funds to make more programs and artists available and recruited volunteers to help with the work of providing visual and performing arts to area youths. The AFtS program gradually spread to include Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline schools.

Merci: to Measure A for providing the funding for the Artist in Residence program. Annually, more than 850 third through fifth-graders receive art instruction from three local professional artists — Anke Hass, Nancy Lopez and Cathee St. Clair. Check out some of the student art in public places at Truckee Town Hall, Dragonfly Restaurant and the Community Recreation Center in Truckee. Thank the young artists who brightened your day.

Gracias: to Phyllis McConn, AFtS volunteer executive director. Phyllis is leading the organization with a passion that truly shows. Along with Phyllis, the volunteer board members — Pete Bansen, Kellie Cutler, Jeff Hatch, Tiffany Jorgens, Bethany Lund, Anna Nguyen, Maureen Marple and Paula Rachuy — all deserve a huge "gracias" for the time and energy they put into AFtS.

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Danke: to Jennie Pitts-Knipe, current program director, and to previous program director Yardley Wing. For the past several years Yardley made all the magic happen at the student assemblies and OnStage performances, in addition to running the office, booking and scheduling the artists and many other jobs that kept the day-to-day operations running smoothly until a sudden change called her back to her family in Missouri. Double-danke to Jennie who stepped in at a most opportune time and has been a star performer herself. Look for her at the next OnStage performance, she is everywhere. And one more Danke to Eve McEneaney, a recent addition who brings a wealth of fundraising knowledge and is a perfect fit for AFtS.

Grazie: to the kids who participate, create, learn, and appreciate the performers and artists. And grazie to their parents who spread encouragement for arts.

Arigato: to all our donors, large and small. AFtS is an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization, funded entirely through grants, individual and corporate donations and proceeds from our performances.

Asante: to the very valuable volunteers who help out at the performances. They do everything from setting up the lights and sound, placing chairs, selling tickets, popping popcorn, and cleaning up. Volunteer helpers make the performances happen.

Most of all, thank you to the Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline Village communities for seeing the value of art education for our children and for supporting Art For the Schools.

The next OnStage public performance features Cedric Watson and Dirk Powell.

Come join the fun at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 at the Community Arts Center in Truckee. Tickets are still available.

For more information on Arts For the Schools programs and to purchase tickets or make a donation visit http://www.artsfortheschools.org.

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