Art Truckee fostering musicians, artists

Truckee’s Underground Music Scene, Part II | 

Art Truckee is housed in the historic Capitol Building in downtown Truckee that was once a theater in the late 19th Century. The venue has become a gathering ground for locals immersed in the arts. The stage located in the back of the gallery is small and the historic building lends itself to yet another underground music and art scene in Truckee.

Note: Part I of the series on Dark Horse After Hours 

From left, musicians William Brinkerhoff, Angele Carroll and Richard Blair. | Michael Pierczyk

March 16 | Songwriter’s Showcase | 7 p.m.
3rd Friday | Open Mic Night | 7 p.m.
3rd Sunday | Literary Arts and Wine | 5 p.m.

Art Truckee is a place to become one with music, art, the written word and performances. There is no loud chatter or bar scene to distract you — you are engrossed with what is occurring on the stage. Seated in the back of the venue, you might feel as if you are being catapulted back in time when Truckee was a small town and horses trotted down the dirt road to the brothels and bars that served the locals.

Watch local musicians perform at Art Truckee

Michelle Erskine is one of the partners of Art Truckee. Her photography highlights Truckee-Tahoe landscapes and architecture and adorns the walls of the venue. Glass blown art, woodcarvings, metal sculptures and artisan trinkets are also displayed throughout the gallery. The area in the back has a beer and wine bar and is set aside for musical performances, literary readings and open mic nights.

“We are creating an environment that is welcoming, where people can have a glass of wine, great conversation, hang out and play music.” – Michelle Erskine

“It’s a different scene here. It’s where great conversations happen — where literary, visual and performing arts are offered on the Charlie Chaplin Stage,” says Erskine. “It’s also an art hub for demonstrating artists, painters and glass blowers to work.”

Heather Ford performs at Art Truckee.

The Literary Arts and Wine series has found a home at Art Truckee. The once-a-month readings feature local writers, poets and journalists on every third Sunday. Most recently, the themed reading was on all things about love. June Sylvester Saraceno and Arian Katsimbras, both educators at Sierra Nevada College, read poetry. Kelsay Elizabeth Myers read prose and Colleen Morton Busch read from a current work in progress. The readings were inspiring, creative, humorous and heart wrenching.

Open mic night is on the third Friday of every month at Art Truckee. Angele Carroll, fundraising director for Tahoe Truckee School of Music, coordinates and hosts the event. Writers, poets, musicians and comics use the forum to entertain and share their passion for creativity.

“Open mic is an opportunity for a variety of artists to practice creativity with a supportive audience. I love it because it includes all different arts,” says Carroll.

Watch local musicians perform at Art Truckee

She says she loves it when she’s up on stage singing and playing her ukulele and other artists hop on stage and sing harmonies with her or grab an instrument and start playing along.

“It’s a pretty unique open mic night with belly dancers and dance routines, comics and music. It really puts the ‘open’ in open mic,” says Will Richardson, who has played music at the venue.

Musicians gravitate to the locale for impromptu jam sessions and live performances.

“It’s a bit of a ‘Cheers’ atmosphere,” says Erskine referring to the 1990s TV sitcom. “We are creating an environment that is welcoming, where people can have a glass of wine, great conversation, hang out and play music. Musicians come and jam. The open mic night is a perfect example of local artists who collaborate with one another.”

Dark Horse After Hours · Truckee’s Underground Music Scene, Part I 

An upcoming Songwriter’s Showcase will feature a panel of four songwriters who will perform original work on March 16. Megan Lacy, a former Tahoe resident, and Christian Flynn, who spends part of the year in Kings Beach, will join local musicians Richardson and Todd Wees. The artists will perform, discuss their process of writing lyrics and putting them to music and offer an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and engage with them. Lacy will also be playing at Dark Horse Coffee Roasters on March 18. And, The Desert Rose Chamber Ensemble, formerly known as Sierra Rose String Quartet, performs regularly at Art Truckee with their next performance on April 15.

Watch local musicians perform at Art Truckee

“Our vision is to put together concerts and for each of us to have fun playing with each other,” says Ellen Flanagan.

Offering unique and off-the-beaten-path performances, Art Truckee is a burgeoning scene that brings together writers, musicians and lovers of the arts. Erskine has a vision for the future of Art Truckee. She looks to offer educational programs, classes and workshops that promote the arts.

For more information and for upcoming events, visit

Priya Hutner

Priya Hutner is a writer, personal chef and meditation teacher. She writes feature articles about music, art, food and recreation. Priya loves to immerse in story. Whether jumping from a plane, eating obscure foods or hitting the Tahoe-Reno music scene, she is always up for adventure and experience.
Having moved to the mountains from Sebastian, Fla., she embraces the Tahoe lifestyle and loves to ski, hike, paddle and swim. Priya is the owner of the Seasoned Sage, a business that prepares organic meals and facilitates workshops that promote a health-conscious lifestyle.
She is currently writing a memoir about her experience living on an ashram and working on a series of cookbooks.