‘Tis the season to celebrate Martis Valley | SierraSun.com

‘Tis the season to celebrate Martis Valley

Courtesy photo/Sierra SunArtist Loreen Thomas used pastels to capture the beauty of a willow-lined creek and spring in Martis Valley. Seasons of Martis will feature the work of dozens of artists during the month-long festival.

Over 20 artists from Truckee Tahoe and around the country will visit the largest montane meadow in the eastern Sierra Nevada this weekend ” to preserve its beauty.

They will come, in part, to paint scenes inspired by Martis Valley, in the first Plein Air, or outdoor painting, event organized by local artists and gallery owners. And by capturing the beauty of Martis, the artists also hope to help underwrite the acquisition of a large swath of the valley.

Outdoor painting is one of several artistic events Thursday that will kick off Seasons of Martis, a month-long celebration of art and nature. Four local art galleries, three in Truckee and one in Tahoe City, will sponsor exhibitions through October that tell the story of the Martis Valley through color and form.

“It is not a narrative as much a collection of reflections and responses of local artists to that beautiful place,” said North Tahoe Arts Exhibits Chair Laura Read.

Exhibits created by 35 local artists and the plein air festival will highlight the work of the Truckee Donner Land Trust, which just concluded a year-long effort to purchase the 1,482-acre Waddle Ranch in Martis Valley, according to Read.

“Our idea was to bridge different communities with a single art exhibit that celebrates our sense of place,” Read said. “We picked the Martis Valley as our focus because of its subtle beauty and the recent battle over its protection. We hoped that by exploring the many facets of Martis Valley through art, we could produce some fresh and exciting perspectives about the place and its importance to all of us.”

Executive Director Allison Becker of North Tahoe Arts said part of the proceeds from an auction on Sunday will go to fund the Truckee Donner Land Trust, a nonprofit organization that works to preserve and protect historic, recreational and scenic open spaces in the greater Truckee region.

The month-long cultural event comes on the heels of a $10 million deal negotiated between officials of the Truckee Donner Land Trust and Placer County’s board of supervisors.

“We would like to get as broad of community support as possible because we’d like folks to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for this amazing landscape,” said Executive Director Perry Norris of the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

Three of the galleries will feature exhibits telling the story of the Land Trust’s acquisition of Waddle Ranch.

“The benefits [for Seasons of Martis] are two-fold,” said co-founder for Truckee Gallery Teresa Wik. “It helps bring the art community together … and it’s a great thing to have the artists get to know Martis Valley. It’s also about agencies working together ” who would guess that the arts would team up with the Truckee Donner Land Trust?”

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