Art Smart: Lake Tahoe Community College
Speak of higher education in California and you can’t get any higher than Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) in the Lake Tahoe Forest. At 6,229 feet above sea level, it’s the highest college in the state. Courses from anthropology to work experience are offered to approximately 4,000 students each quarter. However, LTCC’s recent announcement of plans for a new 2,000 square-foot permanent art gallery to open in 2006 turned the spotlight on its esteemed art department.
Invited to check out the art scene while in Lake Tahoe, I met with David Foster, art department chairman and full time instructor. Foster’s department offers some 66 classes ranging from Art History to Art Special Projects. “The new gallery will give us great exhibition space for visiting artists, be a teaching tool, and stimulate local interest in the arts,” he said taking a break from a sculpture modeling and casting class to show me around.
Stopping to admire a large soapstone sculpture by one of his students, Joyce Alexander, he introduced her while she was chipping away on another massive piece in the courtyard. “He’s my inspiration,” she said of Foster. “Sculpture is my passion,” explained the soft-spoken Foster, as we continued on, greeting students as we walked. Foster has an M.A. in Sculpture and B.S. in Art. He has worked in terra cotta and bronze, but prefers marble. His first contact with stone was as a kid at his father’s quarry in Iowa.
My tour coincided with LTCC’s annual student art exhibit, which Foster initiated some years ago. Colorful art in 15 different categories filled this exhibit with vibrant works. “This show gives students an opportunity to experience the competitive process and all the steps of creating a show, including installing and selling their works,” Foster explained. We stopped in to observe a life drawing class and paused to watch students setting up to shoot a pretend martini glass commercial. “This is a great place to go to school,” said one of the students.#
The college is on a quarterly schedule. Fees for registration in 8 units range from $60 for CA residents to $940 for out of state and international students. For info about the art department, call 916-541-4660. ext. 228 or 251.