South Lake Tahoe group considering formation of arts coalition | TahoeDailyTribune.com

South Lake Tahoe group considering formation of arts coalition

Sebastian Foltz
sfoltz@tahoedailytribune.com
As part of an effort to promote arts and culture along the South Shore, a new group is proposing to create a coalition for the arts. The initiative could help attract events and festivals and serve as a consulting group for larger projects. The effort could also help give a unified voice for arts and cultural organizations in the area.
Sebastian Foltz / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — What sets a place apart? What makes it unique?

Whether it’s Moab, Utah; Santa Cruz, California; Breckenridge, Colorado; or any visitor-focused town — each has its own distinct character. Some would argue that it’s as much a credit to their respective arts scenes as it is the destinations themselves. That same group would also say Lake Tahoe’s South Shore scene is somewhat lacking.

“We’re behind the eight ball,” arts advocate and local radio host Robert Schimmel said. “We need to elevate the arts.”

In an effort to help promote and unify the area’s art scene, Schimmel and a group of locals are discussing ways to create a new South Shore arts coalition.

“It can give arts and culture a bigger voice in the community,” said tourism consultant Carl Ribaudo, of Tahoe-based Strategic Marketing Group. “We’ve always had programs, but they’ve been fragmented. I think a higher-profile organization can help.”

Just what a Tahoe arts coalition would look like — or even what it would be called — has yet to be determined.

Schimmel invited around 20 community members and interested parties — including Ribaudo — to the prospective organization’s first meeting Monday, March 28, to discuss ideas for the potential group.

“I thought it was a terrific meeting to start off,” Ribaudo said. “There was a lot of interest.”

Ribaudo, who studies successful tourism market trends and destination character, credited similar efforts for success at other destinations like Aspen, a high-end Colorado ski destination, and Moab, a popular recreation destination in Utah.

He said a strong arts community contributes both to a destination’s character as well as community spirit, which are attractive to both visitors and locals.

“If you look at other communities — whether it’s Santa Cruz, Aspen or Vail — many of these have artistic and cultural components that help make the place distinct and interesting,” he said, describing somewhat of a void on the South Shore.

Schimmel said the prospective coalition or collaborative could be vital to everything from attracting festivals and events to pursuing grants and lobbying local government for arts projects.

“From an advocacy side there are many things that aren’t being properly done,” Schimmel said. “I think a group like this could be inspirational and helpful.”

The initiative, in its early stages, could turn into a sanctioned 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and serve to unify a broad range of arts groups and projects.

“It seems to have legs and the right people behind it,” Schimmel said.

“We want to create an umbrella,” Ribaudo added, describing a need for a unified voice. “Art and culture help to define us. I think it broadens the appeal for the South Shore and enhances quality of life.”

The group will hold its next meeting Monday, April 25, at a location to be determined. The previous meeting was at the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority building in Stateline.

For more information or to support the group, contact Robert Schimmel at rjschimmelstudio@sbcglobal.net.