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Tahoe Arts Project enters new season

Sarah Gonser

Peggy Aguilar works hard to bring art into children’s lives.

In fact, Tahoe Arts Project, a nonprofit organization, has dedicated 12 years to the endeavor.

October was the opening of another season of performances reaching more than 8,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade students within 12 schools in El Dorado, Douglas and Alpine counties.



“All the kids know about us because we’re in the schools, but I think the parents don’t really know what we’re about and what the kids get from us,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar described TAP as a “presenting organization,” which means it brings performers into the area and organizes appearances for them in the schools plus one public performance. The shows can include dance, music, choral, theater or puppeteering. The focus, according to Aguilar, is not so much on entertainment as on learning.



“It’s important that the artists have worked with children and know how to communicate with them,” she explained. “We try to choose artists from different cultures so that the kids can experience things they wouldn’t normally see here.”

Funding, as with many nonprofit art organizations, is hard to come by.

“We’re a relatively small organization, only 10 board members and a few volunteers, so it’s difficult to raise funds. It’s a lot of work,” Aguilar said.

One advantage is that TAP is considered a bi-state organization. Therefore it qualifies for monies from both the California and Nevada Arts Counsel. The schools each pay a fee for the performances, the city of South Lake Tahoe, corporate sponsors, individual annual memberships and service clubs also contribute.

“We’re constantly researching new grant options,” Aguilar said. “We do our share of grass-roots fund-raising, like cookies and raffles.”

The key fund-raiser is “An Evening With the Academy” at Caesars Tahoe in March. Guests watch the Academy Awards and partake in a buffet dinner and a silent auction.

From a sea of talented performers, Aguilar said she and a special committee hand-picks the artists, focussing on new and unusual performances which the school children probably would not come in contact with otherwise.

“I think a lot of Tahoe people aren’t aware of the caliber of the shows and the artists, but once they decide to come to a show, they’re usually really glad they came,” Aguilar said. “And when I see the kids’ response, I know why I’m doing this.”

Upcoming TAP events to look out for include:

— Auditions for The Missoula Children’s Theatre in “The Wiz of the West,” Nov. 30 at Al Tahoe Elementary School, Lyons Avenue and Rufus Allen Boulevard.

— Two productions of “The Wiz of the West” by The Missoula Children’s Theatre and local students, Dec. 5 at South Tahoe Middle School, 1735 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

— Eth-No-Tec, a performance designed to provide insight into the Asian culture through music, dance, storytelling and theater. The school performances are Feb. 1 through 5. The public performance is Feb. 6. Call for location.

— The Seventh Annual “An Evening With the Academy Awards,” March 21, 1999.

— Bali and Beyond, bringing the music and culture of Indonesia into the schools, May 3 to 7, 1999. The public performance is May 8.

For more information, call (530) 542-3632.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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