Truckee artist thrives in a deserted hotel |

Truckee artist thrives in a deserted hotel

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunAnke Hass holds a photo of her daughter, Fenja, age 5 at the time. Hass rents studio space from the Star Hotel on West River Street in Truckee.

When Anke Hass had to move out of her former art studio in Truckee four years ago, she was worried about finding affordable space in a town with sky-high commercial and residential rents.Desperate for an affordable studio for her painting and sketching studio, Hass was fortunate enough to speak with Beth and Jerry Krug, whose daughter was the same age as Hass daughter, Fenja.Jerry Krug may not have intended to become a patron of the arts, but as part-owner of Advanced Asphalt, which until this month had been headquartered in the historic Star Hotel on West River Street, he did have unused space on his hands.Although Krug and Advanced Asphalt co-owner Jerry Bellon were using the downstairs portion of the building to run their business, the old hotel rooms upstairs were mostly sitting empty. And what had been wasted space for the paving business turned out to be a blessing for Hass, who moved her art studio into two upstairs rooms.Since that time, Hass has been making the most of her new status as unofficial artist in residence at the old hotel, creating commissioned sketches and paintings for clients from Truckee to as far away as Hong Kong.Hass supplements her modest income from her art by teaching visual arts through various different programs including the Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District, Twin Ridges Charter School, Sierra High School and others.When youre an artist, you have to combine it with something, Hass said. You either sell in a gallery or you teach or something else. When you choose a path like that its not about becoming rich.And though Hass has not become wealthy since she got her first local commission in 1993, she has found inspiration to continue pursuing her dream.When she first moved to Truckee from Dusseldorf, Germany, Hass said she thought she had arrived in some backwater pioneerland, and missed the cultural opportunities of her hometown.But time and a new appreciation for the different concepts of space that Truckee residents have has made Hass an enthusiastic member of the Truckee and North Lake Tahoe arts community.Our community has a really unique feel because its a combination of all the North Shore people: You have the lake people, the Truckee people, the Glenshire people. For an artist its very inspiring.Hass passes along some of that inspiration to her students who range from young children to 83-year-old grandparents, some of whom take private lessons at her Star Hotel studio.That may soon change as Advanced Asphalt has recently moved to new offices and the owners have not decided what to do with the Star Hotel. But even if she has to soon look for new studio space in town, Hass said she was thankful for the opportunity to work in her current studio for as long as she has.I just want to thank Jerry and Jerry so much, she said. Without them, I dont know what I would have found.

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