Tahoe Arts Project director hits 25-year mark
For 25 years, executive director Peggy Blowney has guided Tahoe Arts Project’s mission to bring performing arts and cultural enrichment to South Shore students.
Tahoe Arts Project (TAP) was established in 1987 by a group of parents, professional musicians and teachers. Today the nonprofit reaches over 5,000 students in El Dorado, Douglas and Alpine counties through musical and theater performances. Twice a year TAP brings in the Missoula Children’s Theatre to give students an opportunity to audition, rehearse and perform in a full-fledged play.
“For the majority of the kids in the schools here, they would never see any live performing arts if it weren’t for Tahoe Arts Project,” said Blowney, who joined TAP as an assistant director in 1992 before becoming the executive director. “Numerous studies have shown that exposure to the arts is so important for children in their education. It helps with test scores, creative thinking skills and problem solving. It’s just super important for kids to have that part of their education. The schools rely on us to provide that because they are not able to do it on their own.”
It’s a job that Blowney says feels more like a calling.
“I just love it. I love the mission of Tahoe Arts Project,” said Blowney. “The best part for me is going to these school shows and seeing the kids and seeing their response to the groups. It’s such an important thing that’s needed for the community. I feel like I was meant to do this.”
Over her 25 years with TAP, Blowney says the most rewarding part has been having a front row seat to the children experiencing the arts. She recalls one hearing-impaired girl placing her hand on the stage for an entire tap-dance performance, completely in awe of the vibrations. She remembers another young boy discovering his passion for acting after a discouraging attempt at playing football.
“He did a show with the Missoula Children’s Theatre and just shined. He was so happy. He said, ‘this is so much fun! This is what I want to do. I want to be an actor!’”
Kim Carr, TAP board president, said Blowney’s legacy and passion has allowed the organization to thrive.
“I really feel like she is the public face and personality for the organization,” said Carr. “Her long tenure with the organization has been really key to its success.”
TAP is now working to develop a strategic plan, which could include expanding programing and the creation of a children’s theater program.
“Peggy’s continuity with leadership and vision has allowed us to launch into something bigger and build off our current successes,” added Carr.
Rehearsals for the Missoula Children’s Theater’s rendition of Beauty Lou and the Country Beast are currently underway. Two performances of the play will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at South Tahoe High School Theater. Tickets for adults are $10; seniors and children get in for $5.