Since its inception in the early 1940s, the mission of North Tahoe Arts has been to support arts in the North Tahoe area through education, exposure and participation. It began as the Sierra Arts Network in Tahoe City. In 2003, the nonprofit artist organization changed names to become North Tahoe Arts and has continuously added more events, programs and special exhibits to aid its vision.
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The fundraising driver for North Tahoe Arts is the ARTisan shop, which showcases its members’ creations with a portion of the proceeds going to keep the collaborative alive. However, in the last two decades, North Tahoe Arts has brought in new and exciting events to further spark interest such as hosting an annual plein-air competition, rotating community exhibits and sponsoring week-long kids’ art camps. In 1994, the nonprofit also launched ARTour, a multi-day event that brings art aficionados into NTA artists’ studios on a tour.
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“[Art tours] are a common thing in different areas because I think that people want to know what the spaces look like where artists create their work. They want to see the materials and how their spaces are set up; I think it makes them feel more connected to the artists,” says former executive director Kim Snyder, who recently left the post.
ARTour has going on and off since 1994 with its most recent rendition brought back in 2017 as a walking tour. For two weekends this July, at least 19 artists will be showcasing their work in open studios spanning from Incline Village, Nev., down the West Shore and to Truckee.
“We chose to do it in the summer when the most people are here and we know it’s a little congested, but it gives the artists the most exposure,” Snyder says.
Longtime NTA member and oil painter Andy Skaff splits his time between San Francisco and Tahoe; he has been participating in ARTour for more than 10 years. He enjoys the event because he believes that it is a way to bring people back to Tahoe to see their favorite artists, as well as be exposed to new ones.
“It’s a good way to put the area on the map, to make it a better art destination. People look forward to it on an annual basis. It’s fun to see the artists in their own place and how they work. I enjoy having the chance to show my work and hopefully have some sales,” Skaff says.
He adds that being an NTA member gives him a chance to associate with other local artists. He recognizes and appreciates the nonprofit’s leadership team’s efforts into integrating art more effectively into the community.
“[They] are a good group of folks,” Skaff says of the NTA. “Kim has made it better, too, by organizing a lot of NTA’s events. She has done a lot to revive the ARTour.”
“I really want to see the tour get back to the height of what it once was,” Snyder says. “Art is important and a lot of what we do is try to find ways to make art more accessible to people. This is a great way to do that.”
Skaff encourages anyone who wants to see his oil paintings to visit him at his studio the first weekend of ARTour on July 21 and 22. Throughout the duration of the event there are likely to be ceramic artists, woodworkers, pastel painters and others involved on both weekends. Attendees can get a 2019 ARTour booklet online at or at the ARTisan Shop, which will list the artists and their locations.
“I’m pleased that [ARTour] has been revived in the old form of people going to studios. People who are visiting in Tahoe and are interested in art are really going to enjoy it,” Skaff says. | northtahoearts.com