Tahoe Public Art | Weaving art into the community

Futures Past | Ryland West

The beach at Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort in Tahoe Vista is teeming with kids playing in the water as adults sip summery cocktails. At the entrance of the sandy shore, an intricately designed metal structure beckons to visitors. Standing at 23 feet tall and supported by an 8-foot-by-8-foot base, “Future’s Past” is a temporary art installation commissioned by Tahoe Public Art.

View “Future’s Past” | Aug. 17 | 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
TPA fundraiser & talk with the artist

Sept. 21 | 6-8 p.m. | Family night & closing ceremony

Its laser-cut steel patterns were cut by Kate Raudenbush, who was inspired by ancient cultural remains such as the Mexican Mayan Ruins and the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The structure is topped with a metal treetop, its roots dripping down the sides.

Standing inside of “Future’s Past,” one gets a filtered view of the lake through its metal patterns. A chandelier hanging from the top represents the flower of life and an altar in the center of the small room holds a mirror for self-reflection. The art is meant to invoke a sense of balance between humankind, technology and the environment.

“It’s done exactly what it is supposed to do and create conversations. It is very relatable to Tahoe and the impacts of mankind and Mother Nature.” – Alex Mourelatos

“Either in the day or night, you get an illuminating experience,” says Tahoe Public Art executive director Mia Hanak.

Tahoe Public Art (TPA) works with private, public and resort properties around the Tahoe Basin to place works of art that can be displayed from two weeks to two years or permanently. The organization aims to enhance and preserve the beauty of Lake Tahoe through visual arts and promote environmental stewardship.

Watch a time-lapse video of “Future’s Past”

FUTURE’S PAST by Kate Raudenbush at Lake Tahoe from Tahoe Public Art on Vimeo.

“Many resort towns have a thriving arts and culture community and there are many organizations doing fantastic things around Lake Tahoe. We want to bring it all together in a way that appeals to locals and visitors alike,” Hanak says.

According to Hanak, TPA secured Mourelatos as a location for an art installation, but said that it was initially hard to find a piece that resonated so well with its mission.

“Then we saw Kate’s piece and it blends in well with the environment. The temple and trees have many layers of meaning. ‘Future’s Past’ is symbolic for this location,” Hanak said.

Katie inside the Future’s Past | Ryland West

11“It’s done exactly what it is supposed to do and create conversations. It is very relatable to Tahoe and the impacts of mankind and Mother Nature, which controls all,” says Alex Mourelatos, owner of the resort and an active North Lake Tahoe community member. “We ourselves are a well-traveled family and public art is expected as a destination’s fabric. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with a great nonprofit. You can see the structure from the water but it looks almost part of the tree line because of its natural colors.”

Around the time of “Future’s Past” installation, TPA also announced the launch of “Laka’lelup,” a floating multimedia art piece that will be the first of its kind in Lake Tahoe. When developing the idea for it, TPA began by reaching out to the Washoe tribe to get its blessing because they were much of Lake Tahoe’s history and regard it as sacred space. With their support, TPA began fleshing out the details.

Read more:  “Laka’lelup” artwork

“The point [of the floating art piece] is to show how fragile the lake is by climate-change threats and manmade impact,” says Hanak. “ ‘Laka’lelup’ means coming together for a common purpose. It’s perfectly in line with TPA’s mission. Just as the Washoe are excited with this method of communication, scientists are excited, too. This allows us to create data-driven storytelling.”

The geometric-shaped installation to be built on a barge was originally set to be launched in Lake Tahoe in August, but the launch was delayed after organizers with COP23, a United Nations climate-change conference, invited TPA to unveil the installation at the University of Bonn in Germany in November. “Laka’lelup” is expected to be unveiled on Lake Tahoe in the summer of 2018.

As Hanak and I walk back to our cars after spending the Sunday afternoon at Mourelatos, a couple carrying a Tahoe Weekly crosses our path and stops to gaze at “Future’s Past.”

“What a beautiful thing to look at,” the woman says. “It looks like it has to do with life — the roots, the patterns. I wish it would stay here forever.”

“Future’s Past” is located on private property, but the public is invited to view the sculpture on Aug. 17 and Sept. 21. The installation will be in place until Oct. 1.

For more information or to register for the public viewings, visit tahoepublicart.com.

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Kayla Anderson

Kayla Anderson is a freelance writer, marketer and action sports enthusiast who has spent the last 10 years in North Lake Tahoe snowboarding, hiking and wake surfing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chico State University and loves being out on the lake as often as she can.