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Local opinions wanted on arts and culture

Sierra CountisSierra Sun

Arts and culture in Truckee is ready to take center stage, with a new steering committee of local artists and residents leading the way. As its first act, the Truckee Arts and Culture Advisory Committee is surveying the community to measure its support of the arts.Public responses are due today. The survey will take the temperature of where people are at, said committee member Rich Valentine. A Truckee resident for more than 30 years, Valentine said the cultural scene has remained pretty quiet until now. Recently, the town has undergone an awakening to the arts, kind of like a Renaissance, he said. But despite a blossoming art culture in Truckee, artists still lack a venue solely dedicated to the arts, Valentine said. Members of the steering committee developed the survey to measure the communitys support for a new arts center, said Elizabeth Archer, artistic director of InnerRhythms Dance Theatre. In a previous survey conducted by the Truckee Donner Parks & Recreation District, residents placed a performing arts facility at the top of their wish list, she said. The steering committee wanted to further measure that support. Funded by the committee members own pocketbooks, the new survey was e-mailed to residents on lists made available by the Chamber of Commerce in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe and the school district, Valentine said. The survey must be completed by today.The majority of people (thus far) are willing to commit monetary donations at the highest level or through a bond, said Valentine of the eight multiple-choice questions that ask residents about their willingness to support an arts venue. Archer said the committee has studied a comprehensive arts building in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that houses a practice facility and a performing arts center, and serves as a home for a variety of nonprofit art groups. We want the community to benefit in the long run in the most feasible way possible, Archer said. A multi-purpose facility, as proposed by the recreation district, just isnt what the steering committee has in mind, Archer said. Once the survey results are compiled, the committee will make a recommendation to the recreation district and hopefully we can work together to meet the needs of the community, Archer said.The committee is ready to take action, Valentine said. We cant lose this opportunity and push the building of an arts venue back two years, he said. With estimated building costs from $6 to $9 million for a 100-seat theater or $10 to $15 million for a comprehensive arts and culture center – the price for a new facility isnt exactly inexpensive. Were not going to build the Taj Mahal, Valentine said. …but the expenses to build in Truckee are high.

The steering committees 23 area residents include many involved in the arts, Valentine said. The groups mission statement is: To advocate for the arts, to coordinate resources and information, and to promote and cultivate the artistic and cultural growth of our local community.Each individual brings their own expertise to the table, said committee member Carole Sesko, an established contemporary artist in Truckee.Beside its focus on an arts venue, Valentine said the committee intends to develop a public art master plan, conduct a survey of existing resources, create an off-season art festival, establish an arts calendar, promote education for students, offer artist mentoring and explore display spaces for art.


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