Artist Scott Forrest takes time out for a photo with a couple of visitors during the Tahoe Art League Studio Tour last summer. The Studio Tour allows Art League members to showcase their work in the low-key environment of their backyard or home studios.

Evolution of Arts

Founded in 1964, the Tahoe Art League continues to expand its offerings to the community


The South Shore is abuzz with everything art. From art installations in pubs to gallery openings to the emergence of new art organizations, it’s clear that the residents of South Lake Tahoe see the importance of visual arts in the community.

The Tahoe Art League knows this well.

Founded in 1964 by local fine artists seeking to foster camaraderie, the Tahoe Art League is the oldest nonprofit arts organization on the South Shore. The League has evolved significantly since then, growing from a hobbyist group into a visual arts powerhouse.


Arts for All

The organization offers an array of programs, including monthly presentations by visiting artists, a scholarship program for high school and college art students, workshops, classes, art in public places, an annual studio tour and art mixers.

Among its outreach programs, the League sponsors a weekly volunteer-driven class called Art Angels. The class uses art-making to aid the well-being of the participants, many of whom suffer from mental illness. Run by local volunteer Charisse Sotto and with cooperation from the El Dorado County Wellness Center, Art Angels develops the participants’ artistic skills, allowing them to gain a sense of pride and accomplishment by focusing their energy on the creative process.

The League also hosts free monthly art presentations. On the second Wednesday of each month, the organization holds a free public art demo or lecture from visiting artists. From Burning Man artists to art marketing, the monthly presentations have created a center point for the artists of the area to gather, learn and mingle.


Walt Stevenson works on a silk painting during a past Studio Tour


Touring Tahoe’s Artistic Talent

Perhaps the most important event of the year for the organization is the annual Tahoe Art League Studio Tour. The tour, which takes place the last weekend in July and the first weekend in August, has grown from a few artists opening their studios to the public to nearly 30 artists within 13 studios throughout the South Shore for this year’s event.

Studio Tour Committee Chair Nina Major was there from the beginning in 2006 for the first show.

“When we started the tour, it was just a few of us artists who simply wanted a way to show our work to the public,” Major says. “Now, it’s a huge draw for the community to come out in support of local art and artists, and it’s become the League’s only annual fundraiser. The Tour means a lot to our artists and patrons and we do all that we can to make the tour better every year.”

From jewelry and pottery to paintings and sculpture, the Studio Tour shows off the best art the area has to offer.

New to this year’s Studio Tour is artist Les Allert, a landscape photographer working in the rare platinotype platinum photographic process.

“Platinum prints are the most durable of all the photographic processes. They’ll be around for a thousand years,” says Allert, a longtime member of the Tahoe Art League. “It’s time for me to get my work out there in front of audiences. The tour offers a great opportunity for this.”

For the Art League members participating in the event, the tour offers a chance to show their work in the low-key environment of backyards and home studios—either their own spaces or those of their fellow member artists. This gives patrons a chance to see firsthand how the art is made. From printmaking to welding, the tour has something for everyone.

Returning to this year’s Studio Tour is the popular “Passport” art raffle. The passport program allows patrons to have their tour brochures stamped for a chance to win a piece of artwork donated for this purpose.


Author Kelly Smith Cassidy, president of the Tahoe Art League, works on an art piece from her home studio


A Bright Future

The League has changed its entire look and involvement to include a more modern appeal to the community.

From community art experiences and progressive artistic pursuits, the Tahoe Art League has stepped into the twenty-first century.

The Tahoe Art League Studio Tour takes place July 27–29 and August 3–5 throughout South Lake Tahoe. For more information about the Studio Tour, go to Learn more about the Tahoe Art League at

Kelly Smith Cassidy is the president of the Tahoe Art League and a fulltime metal sculptor. She can be reached at


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