Tahoe Arts Alliance
Alliance Awards Winners

Recognizing Excellence in the Arts

Saturday, April 13, 2019
South Lake Tahoe High School

     The South Shore Arts Community celebrated its wealth of talent with the premiere of the Tahoe Arts Alliance - Alliance Awards, held at the Tahoe Arts and Design Academy Theater (TADA Theater) on the evening of April 13, 2019. With over 80 nominations in 24 categories, The Alliance Awards brought together the best artists, performers, creatives, and contributors to the arts community for an event unlike any we have seen on the South Shore. Winners were each presented with an Arty on stage and provided an opportunity to give an acceptance speech. The event was followed by an after-party at The Lake House Restaurant.

     Upon arrival at The Alliance Awards, attendees walked the red carpet, many dressed in dazzling evening wear, topped with fanciful hats or elaborately coiffured hair, conspicuously lacking paint splatter or clumps of clay. South Lake Tahoe Mayor Brooke Laine was the official paparazzi for the walk as everyone showed off in front of the Tahoe Arts Alliance Awards backdrop.

     The show opened with Comedian Howie Nave, known to many from Howie’s Morning Rush on KRLT. The routine included a very humorous story (even without alcohol being served at the high school) that was tailored to the audience of artists. Nave focused on a very real and sobering fact that every artist in the room has often donated time and talent to friends and the community, and this altruism is generally expected of artists. The South Shore Arts Community is the most generous group of artists and performers I have ever encountered. The simple truth about this culture of giving only emphasizes the need for additional venues on the South Shore in order to provide more opportunities for paid professional performances and displays of art.

     Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the gifts of performance from the artists that gave of their talents for this evening’s event. The Tahoe Fire Dancers heated things up with their LED dance routine and Bison Blue Grass kicked you know what with their foot stomping tunes. Zyena Tolhurst and Amara Tedford mesmerized the audience with their solo dance performances. Miki Rae and Dylan Long performed a catchy and unique eco-friendly original number that was fun, memorable, and thought-provoking. Molly DeLallo gave us the chills with her impassioned rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon, rivaling the original version. And if that weren’t enough, we were treated to wonderful performances by the cast of Broadway in Blue, which included duets by Andrea Rogers and Sharon Kerrigan as well as Richard S. Sargent and Nidsa Mouritzen Tarazon.

     Seeing these artists appear on the same stage got me to thinking about the recent developments in South Lake Tahoe Arts. Groundwork for the recent growth has been laid over the past decades by Tahoe Art League, founded 1964; Valhalla Tahoe, founded 1979; Marcia Sarosik’s Shining Stars, founded 1984; and Tahoe Arts Project, founded 1987. In 1996, Lake Tahoe Community College Duke Theatre opened. In 2010, the Tahoe Fire Dancers came on the scene.

     And then a new surge arrived on our shore: Benko Art Gallery, opened 2016; Tahoe Activist Artists, formed 2016; Tahoe Arts Alliance, founded 2016; High Vibe Society Artisan Collective, founded 2017; Emanate Gallery, opened 2018; and Black Ice Theatre Company, founded 2018. Welcome to 2019 with the opening of Compass Clay Studio and Scott Forrest Fine Art Studio. Is it any wonder that the South Shore needs an annual arts awards night?

     The Tahoe Arts Alliance conducted a vote by its membership to choose a winning artist in each category. Pairs of nominees from other categories became the announcers of each award. The announcers opened the envelopes on stage to reveal the winners and present the trophies, making this South Lake Tahoe's own 'Oscars' night for the Arts. And just like the biggest night in showbiz, the announcers brought glitz and glamour to the stage. Some of the announcers really got into the act by adding a bit of humor. Sculptor-Welder Kelly Smith Cassidy and Abstract Expressionist Painter Scott Forrest brought the house down with their uproarious improptu performance that juxtaposed Smith Cassidy’s classic and refined elegance with Forrest's hilarious hairy wardrobe and malfunctioning hairpiece.

     Alliance Award winners accepted the Arty and gave speeches. The Arty is an elegant, handcrafted ceramic vessel, created by Compass Clay Studio. As practical as it is beautiful, the Arty is high fired, microwaveable, leakproof, and dishwasher safe.

     Artist Guy Gilmore was the winner of the Best in Ceramics and Sculpture category. Many of the evening's winners thanked just about everyone in the audience and the entire local arts community, but you might describe Gilmore's speech as being as watertight as the Arty itself. Gilmore is known for his modest persona. He stepped to the stage, accepted his award, and said, "Thank you." As he turned to step off the stage, he was asked if he would like to say a few words. Gilmore turned to the audience, flashed a huge smile, and said, "No I’m good."

     A heartfelt memorial speech for Drake Niven was presented by Marcia Sarosik. Niven contributed his time and talent to the theatre community, including building many sets over the years that were part of performances held in the very theatre in which we sat. Musical group Birds of a Feather echoed the sentiment of Niven’s dedication and contributions with a deeply emotional rendering of "One Voice", which underscored the Alliance of this unified arts community being honored tonight.

     You can join the Tahoe Arts Alliance by going to TahoeArtsAlliance.org. You can also sign up when you attend any Tahoe Arts Alliance event. The next scheduled event is the Art Fest to take place Saturday, June 2, 2019 on Ski Run Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe.

-- Sheilah Boothby, MakeTahoe.com

Alliance Awards Winners


  • Benjamin Justin


  • Guy Gilmore


  • Ellen Nunes


  • Malcolm Tibbetts - Orbs at Cowork Tahoe


  • Emanate Gallery


  • LTCC Annual Student Art Show


  • Shelley Zentner


  • Molly Delallo


  • Ike & Martin


  • Broadway in Blue - Valhalla


  • Tahoe Fire Dancers


  • Marcia Sarosik


  • Maria Sarosik's Shining Stars


  • Pam Taylor - 'night Mother


  • Andrea Rogers - Jesus Christ Superstar


  • Mark D. Williams - Jesus Christ Superstar


  • Chris Taylor - Jesus Christ Superstar


  • Cole Proctor


  • Madeline Evans


  • ’night Mother - Black Ice Theatre Co.


  • Giants in the Sky - Act One


  • Ellen Martin


  • Richard S. Sargent - 'night Mother


  • Howie Nave