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PlacerArts, Angela Tahti honored with 2008 Cultural Award

By: Jenifer Gee, Journal Staff Writer
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Twenty-five years ago it was a grassroots organization. Twenty-five years later it still is, but PlacerArts has helped Auburn evolve into a popular venue for the arts community. The arts organization and its executive director Angela Tahti were recently distinguished with the 2008 Cultural Award. It's an honor the center received because the center has been a crucial part in making Auburn an arts destination, according to Sue Dings, secretary of the Auburn Arts Commission. The eight-person commission unanimously selected PlacerArts this year. We're just really happy to have them recognized on their 25th anniversary because they have really been a great leadership and support for the arts in Auburn and throughout Placer County, Dings said. Tahti said she was pleased and surprised when she heard the good news via e-mail. I was excited for the organization, Tahti said. This is our 25th anniversary and I thought it was really great that a long line of individuals and volunteers get to be acknowledged in this way. Tahti said the center operates its three main events as well as others with a staff of three full-time employees and almost 100 volunteers. This year is extra special for those volunteers because it's not the only anniversary they are celebrating. It's the 20th season of the summer series, which is a series of four music concerts held at the library garden theater every Sunday night in July. The Auburn Art Walk is in its 15th season. More than 30 Downtown and Old Town Auburn business and vendors open their doors to the public for a free night of viewing works by area artists on display at local venues. Long-time PlacerArts volunteer Rosie Stilwell said events such as the Art Walk are especially helpful for the artists. People get to know who they are and what work they do, Stilwell said. Finally, the Autumn Art Studios Tour is adding a 15th year to its palette. The three-day event takes place in November. For $10, attendees take a self-guided tour of the studios of 70 to 90 artists spanning from Colfax to Granite Bay. Tahti said those events are successful because they increase community involvement. They contribute back to the community and they create economic vitality, Tahti said. All of the programs provide benefit to the public whether it's educational or simply to generate joy. Tahti said the events are in line with the goal of PlacerArts and its supporters. Our mission is to be a catalyst for the arts and humanities and that's really what we do, she said. We use the hard earned dollars and make them go a long way with the help of our volunteers and donors and community partners. Dings said those events and others truly have been uniting elements for local artists and art lovers. (PlacerArts) is really a driving force in the Placer Arts Community, Dings said. She attributed part of that success to Tahti's leadership. Angie has been a guiding light as the executive director of PlacerArts for many years, Dings said. It's because of her dedication to encouraging artists and cultural groups to share their talents in Auburn and throughout Placer County that Auburn has really grown to be an arts destination. Tahti and PlacerArts will be honored at the State of the Community dinner on April 18 at The Ridge in Auburn. Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment at auburnjournal.com.