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Touring art on the back roads of Lake Tahoe

Suzanne Stone, Open Studio Tour publicist

The Open Studio Tour, an annual event where local artists invite the public to visit their home studios, will take place Sept. 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at South Shore. Visitors will have an opportunity to meet 20 participating artists, view their work on display, watch them work and purchase art.

The tour is sponsored by the city of South Lake Tahoe Arts Commission. Phylise Walker, arts coordinator for the city, recommends art-touring on the scenic backroads of Tahoe. The following are her suggestions: “Buy a catalog, grab a friend, get in the car and go.”

The first step is to purchase an official Open Studio Tour catalog and guide, which is available for $12 at the South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe-Douglas chambers of commerce, Hannifin’s Art and Antiques and Borge & Night Master Framing. For information, call (530) 542-7141.

The catalog is organized so that the art-tourist may begin at the home of any artist and travel throughout South Shore.

The next step is to invite a friend to tour. In order to complete the entire tour in one weekend, travel by car is required. One person can be the designated navigator. Carpooling is companionable and also friendly to the environment. Of course, a shorter tour may be taken by bicycle.

Now, browse through the catalog, view the illustrated artworks and choose the artists to visit. Many artists have teamed up to exhibit their work together. Additionally, there are several neighborhoods where artists’ homes are conveniently clustered. The catalog contains a map and very helpful directions to each artist’s home.

Let’s start in the Bijou area of town at the studio of sculptor Sandy Allie. Three other artists exhibiting with her are Diane Wright, also a sculptor; Dixie Murnane, a painter and print-maker; and Jennifer McLevis, a sculptor and print-maker. These four artists provide a representative introduction to the tour. In the same neighborhood is Barbara Voges-Kingston, who creates ceramic sculptures and oil paintings.

From Vorges-Kingston’s we travel south on Pioneer Trail to the studio of Endre Peter Darvas. A well-known painter of watercolors, oil and serigraphs, Darvas is inspired by the magic of Lake Tahoe.

From the home of Darvas, we continue south on Pioneer Trail to the studios of sculptors Sheryl Lanier, ceramics, and John Anderson, glass. This husband-wife team have built their home for art.

Now, we head south once again on Pioneer Trail to the stop light at the junction at U.S. Highway 50. Our destination is the studio of Jeff Brownell, who works in many different media featuring American-Indian subject matter. To get there we travel a short distance south on the highway, watching for the second Apache Street sign in Meyers. The first Apache sign leads to a more circuitous route. Here we turn left, carefully following the instructions in the catalog.

From Brownell’s studio we return to Highway 50 and travel a short distance to South Upper Truckee Road. In this area we find the home of painter and teacher, Phyllis Shafer, who has a traditional artist’s loft. With Shafer are watercolorists, Michele Cornair and Guy Joy.

Next, we look for the flower-filled garden of watercolorist Ellen Scott. To reach her studio we return to Highway 50 and immediately make a short jog left, then right to North Upper Truckee Road just across the highway, which we follow back to Lake Tahoe Boulevard. From there we find Scott, whose paintings of water and mountain scenes are not to be missed.

Heading back to town on Lake Tahoe Boulevard, at 12th Street we enter the neighborhood of fiber artist Nanc Ressler, who creates quilts and wearable art, and watercolorist Abdon Loebs, whose speciality is mountain scenes. From their studios we take the back entrance to the Tahoe Keys neighborhood where weaver Phylise Walker is located. With Walker are Julie LaCroix, painter/ceramicist, and Sarah Thomas, who works in colored pencil, pastel and acrylic ink. Not far from Walker’s studio is the home of Diane Goldman, who creates from wood, papier mache and acrylic.

For a grand finale let’s stop at the sculpture garden and ceramic workshop of Fay Wagner. We head north and turn left on Lake Tahoe Boulevard from Tahoe Keys Boulevard. At Wagner’s home we find zebras, giraffes and turtles grazing among the pines and a graceful bridge on Trout Creek.

Of course, the tour may be taken in reverse order beginning at Wagner’s studio and ending at Allie’s.

A few words about art-touring etiquette will suffice. It is always appropriate to ask the price of a work if it is not posted. One purpose of the art tour is to bring artists and patrons or customers together. You will be visiting private homes, so respect the areas that are off limits to the tour. Park carefully in the neighborhoods. Most artists will serve light refreshments and you are welcome to enjoy them.

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

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