Arts For the Schools | What is your message to the world?

Paula Rachuy
Special to the Sun
Winner of the People’s Choice Award at Carve Tahoe 2014, "The Fish Eaters," by Team Tahoe Truckee.
Courtesy Paula Rachuy |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — What do snow and eggs have in common?

They are both common things that can become the star of uncommon art.

Last week our area had the pleasure of having Carve Tahoe in our midst.

If you didn’t get to see the huge snow sculptures at the Northstar Village, you surely missed an amazing sight. What started as 10 ft. x 10 ft. x 12 ft. blocks of compressed snow became wonderful sculptures made with only snow, water, carving tools and imagination during a few days and nights work.

The sculptures are an ephemeral pleasure, they will be gone in a few days. Snow, rain, sun and wind will help to erode the snow sculptures until they return to their humble beginnings.

There is another unusual form of art taking place right now in our local schools that also has very humble beginnings— an egg.

Arts For the Schools is now in its 30th year of providing art experiences for the youth of the Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline Village. One of the longest running programs — at 25 years — is the egg painting by fourth graders, taught by Cathee St. Clair. Students are first led through the world of eggs, from the teeny-tiniest eggs to the largest ostrich eggs.

They get to touch and hold eggs, learning about fragility and caring. Next they learn about storytelling and how to draw on a surface that is not flat. They get used to focusing on a project. Then they get to paint their masterpiece egg. After the egg is painted, the students write a poem about the egg and include their message to the world.

Everyone should have a message for the world, right?

Walker Viehmann’s egg and message is one that we can all take to heart.


By Walker Viehmann

I am fire

I am the fire that just came out

of the newborn dragon.

I am as hot as lava.

The dragon has waited thirty years to hatch.

The inside of the egg is boring.

My message to the world is:

Have patience.

I am fire.


The stories that come from the egg experience are amazing, and the stories keep on coming long after the eggs are painted.

St. Clair told the story of a girl and her fiancé who were unpacking in their new home. They were both surprised when each unpacked a painted egg that had been carefully saved over the years. St. Clair also said that two years ago she had in one of her classes her first child of an early egg painter. After 25 years of egg painting, you can be sure there are lots of eggs and lots of stories out there, and lots of messages to the world.

The egg painting program is one part of the Artist In Residence (AIR) program that brings a variety of arts to our local third, fourth, fifth-graders and at-risk high school kids.

Since the 2012-2103 school year, the AIR program is funded by Measure A funds. A huge thank you goes out to the Measure A Committee for allowing the AIR program to continue to bring art to the classroom.

Arts for the Schools would like to see those 25 years of painted eggs and stories. So where is your egg?

For AFTS 30th anniversary everyone is encouraged to go on an egg hunt and dig out those eggs and poems. “Like” Arts For the Schools on Facebook and post a photo of your egg and poem. Encourage your friends to post their eggs. Let’s see them!


Whether appreciating the fleeting art of a snow sculpture or the enduring art of a painted egg, make sure you include more art in your life. Join AFTS at the next OnStage public performance on Friday, March 28, when Joe Craven and daughter Hattie will appear. For more information on Arts For the Schools programs and to purchase tickets or make a donation, please visit our website at

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

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