North Tahoe community to vote on Kings Beach roundabout art |

North Tahoe community to vote on Kings Beach roundabout art

One of the finalists. The inspiration for this art honors the Washoe people and what is known of their history in the area, according to the artist, who notes that rock markers were used to designate places for encampment that contained a food cache.
Courtesy Tahoe Public Art |

If you go

What: Community meeting to select art for Kings Beach roundabouts

Where: North Tahoe Event Center, 8318 North Lake Blvd., Kings Beach

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 19

More info:

KINGS BEACH, Calif. — The community will make the final decision on what public art is displayed in the Kings Beach roundabouts.

A national call to artists was issued in November 2014, and 38 proposals were submitted for the roundabouts at Bear and Coon streets, said Marguerite Sprague, program coordinator of Tahoe Public Art, a consortium of North Tahoe Arts, North Tahoe Business Association and Tahoe City Downtown Association that is commissioning the project.

“We’re very intent the content be related to the Tahoe Basin environment,” she said. “We want to encourage stewardship of our environment. We want to encourage community connection. We want to move people who live here and are visiting to become more deeply connected to the Tahoe Basin through this art experience that will be created here.”

The proposals — which came from as far away as Vermont and Hawaii and as nearby as Kings Beach and Tahoe City — have since been narrowed to five finalists.

The community will select two winners, one for each roundabout, by way of a vote at a public meeting from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach.

“Public art is a way of establishing community identity and sense of place,” said Kellie Cutler, executive director for North Tahoe Arts. “Final selections may be controversial, which is to be expected with public art, but a community selection process allows for the community to have a voice in the process.”

During voting, finalist names will be kept anonymous, so the “pieces will speak the loudest,” Sprague said.

Those 16 years old and older who attend the meeting will be given two tickets to vote for their favorite proposal(s), she said. After the meeting, the votes for each proposal will be tallied and overseen by a CPA.

Winners will likely be announced Friday, Sprague said, at which point selected artist(s) identities will be unveiled.

Since the roundabouts are on Highway 28, a state highway, Caltrans will conduct an engineering review of the winning proposals.

Should an issue arise, the parties would work to resolve it, Sprague said. If a solution cannot be found, the next top vote-getter will move forward.


The art displayed at each roundabout cannot exceed a cost $125,000, which includes labor, transportation, materials and installation costs, or $250,000 for the two, according to Tahoe Public Art.

Last week, the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved $125,000 in Transient Occupancy Tax funding to the Tahoe Public Art program, which will go toward the construction, installation and marketing/promotion of the roundabout art.

Total project cost is $320,000, according to Placer County.

Beyond public funds, private funding is also being sought to finance the project, Sprague said. Donations can be made at Tahoe Public Art’s website,

The total amount of project funds raised was unknown as of press time.

When asked about concerns about a potential backlash on the cost or use of public funds to finance the project, Sprague said: “We would hope not because the art will actually stand to promote (and) provoke more expenditures in our local economy. … The idea is to create a Main Street that invites people to linger, invites people to stop in cafes, to shop in stores and to come visit areas because they feel more at home.

“In reality, this preliminary and partial investment of public funds should have a wholesale return of funds that come back into those coffers over time.”

The official unveiling of the art displays is anticipated for Sept. 26, barring setbacks.

“The success of the roundabout art in Kings Beach will help pave the way to incorporate public art into upcoming economic development projects in Tahoe City,” said Stacie Lyans, executive director Tahoe City Downtown Association. “This is a really exciting time for our entire community.”

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