Arts & Cultural Center in the running for Tahoe City

Courtesy | Siren Arts

Siren Arts, a local grassroots organization whose mission is to bring a multi-use community center focused around arts and culture to Tahoe City, has announced its selection as one of two proposed concepts under further review by Placer County.

Siren Arts proposed a phased development of a multi-use arts and cultural center as enjoyed by other mountain towns that also have a need to stimulate their shoulder seasons with a concept that would not only meet real community needs but also bring new vitality to Tahoe City.

As part of the Siren Arts proposal is a retail gallery space, café, visitors’ center kiosk, pop-up artisan kiosks, park side concessions, flex-use classroom spaces, art studio spaces and artist-in-residence program, a commercial kitchen, a rooftop deck and shareable common work spaces to accommodate local arts and cultural nonprofits that foster collaboration amongst local creative minds.

Siren Arts is interested in cultivating arts and culture by attracting talent from inside and outside the area, and is endorsed by Tahoe Public Art, Tahoe Truckee School of Music, North Tahoe Arts, Arts for the Schools and Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema. The Tahoe Weekly magazine is also a supporter of the project.

In 2017, Siren Arts formed around the opportunity to redevelop the Old Firehouse Property in Tahoe City. Its founders are three long time locals, community activists and artists: Christin Hanna, founder of the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective; Abigail Gallup, artist and former program and marketing coordinator with North Tahoe Arts and Renee Koijane, artist and former executive director of Squaw Valley Institute.

To help bring their vision to life, Siren Arts partnered with Robb Olson, architect and realtor with local firm Olson-Olson Ena. Collectively they submitted a proposal to the County that includes a flex-use space event space, accommodating up to 500 people in telescoping seats for performances from inside and outside the area.

“Our goal is to make Tahoe City a more livable community, stimulated by an arts and cultural scene that is vital and meaningful every day of the year,” said Siren Arts co-founder Christin Hanna, in a press release. “The intrinsic value an arts and cultural scene will also have on our existing businesses is immeasurable, but we do know visitors will come to stay in Tahoe up to twice as long and spend up to a third more when they visit, and perhaps more importantly, North Tahoe will become an even more attractive place to live.”

On April 24, the Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved to move forward on county staff’s recommendation to seek Tahoe Tourism Master Plan grant dollars in the amount of $250,000 to cover costs for further study of the two proposed projects for the Old Firehouse Station property. In addition to the Siren Arts concept, also in the running to be reviewed for grant dollars is a market hall concept called The Commonwell.

Ben Martin, long-time local and founder of the Tahoe Truckee School of Music spoke at the April 24 meeting in support of Siren Arts and its ability to reinvigorate Tahoe City.

“We can develop the unique character of our community by supporting our local artists, and by attracting those from outside the area, who are inspired by Lake Tahoe to create beautiful artwork of all kinds,” he said. “This benefits the artists, the public who can enjoy their work and performances, the students who study with these artists and the community and economy at large.”

Siren Arts draws its inspiration from Aspen’s Red Brick Center for the Arts; Ketchum, Idaho’s Argyros Performing Arts Center; and the Sirius Arts Centre in Cork, Ireland, and plans to phase its process so that the community may activate the space immediately in existing buildings for their own event and meeting space needs. Siren Arts also plans to produce various pop-up shops and community events immediately to showcase how an arts and cultural scene brings vibrancy to Tahoe City’s downtown corridor.

To learn more about Siren Arts and to sign up in support, visit www.sirenarts.org.