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About BATS

Let me tell you a story!

Once upon a time, in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, on the shore of beautiful blue Lake Tahoe was the little community of South Lake Tahoe, California. Children studied hard and learned to read, write, and do their arithmetic. But something was missing! Art was missing! And this was about to change!

Living in the town was Darlynn Babb-Sharpe, a woman with a vision. She recognized the need to offer art in the elementary schools. She created a structured program to be presented by trained volunteers at the Bijou and Al Tahoe Schools. The program was designed to meet the California State Standards for Arts Education. Darlynn obtained grants from the local Soroptimist clubs, purchased portfolios of fine art pictures and developed what was called the Elementary Arts Program. She directed the program from 2001 to 2003.

Gina Stowell became the next director and expanded the Elementary Arts Program to include all four public elementary schools and St. Theresa Catholic School. Now about 1800 students in South Lake Tahoe and the nearby little town of Meyers, California were receiving visits from volunteers, learning about art and creating colorful expressive artwork in the classroom. Gina served until 2008.

Following Ms Stowell’s tenure, Joy Rogers led the program. During this time the name was changed to BATS, Bringing Art to Schools. Joy initiated field trips to the Lake Tahoe Community College Haldan Art Gallery for students to view fine art in a professional gallery setting. She invited local artists to visit the classroom for special projects. Three large art pieces were created and now hang in the El Dorado County Courthouse. She partnered with the El Dorado County Branch Library to provide space in the Children’s Room for the schools to display student art created during the BATS lessons. Joy directed the program until 2011.

Penny Fairfield became the BATS administrator in 2011, succeeding Joy Rogers. Penny has continued the growth of the program over the years. Recently, Penny has developed an excellent group of new board members to carry the program into the future, reaching all students in South Lake Tahoe school district.

We are happy to welcome Krystal Long is our new BATS administrator, as of January 2015! Krystal has been active in BATS since 2014. She brings new ideas, management expertise, and lots of enthusiasm to the organization. Welcome, Krystal!

Each school has its own Lead Volunteer who coordinates the program at that facility. About 100 dedicated parents and retired community members volunteer in the classroom. They visit their assigned class five times a year to bring an art lesson to their students. In the spring each school presents a huge art show, displaying selected pieces from each student. The children are so proud of their work and love sharing it with families, friends and neighbors.

And the story of BATS, Bringing Art to School, is not over yet! Chapters are still being written.

BATS Director: Krystal Long 530-414-1348 krystalmlong(at)gmail(dot)com

Webmaster: Penny Shrawder: 530-307-8549