Truckee’s brick Capitol Building — built in 1870 — has stood the test of time against fierce winter weather, harsh Sierra winds, and an 1873 conflagration that burned most of Commercial Row to the ground. Hailed as the oldest standing building in Truckee, the Capitol Building has housed a court house, a roller skating rink, a wild west saloon, art galleries, a woman’s spa, and a theater; with Dressed Boutique most recently occupying the lower-level space. The newest enterprise upstairs is the nonprofit Art Truckee, which opened shop in May 2016.
With shelves of beautiful blown glass art, and walls decorated with internationally-acclaimed paintings and locally-inspired photography, Art Truckee is the product of the unified vision of the art hub’s four collective owners.
“Art Truckee is a literary, visual, and performing artist hub. As owners, [we] want to return the space to what it was originally, to what its purpose was over 100 years ago,” explains co-owner Michelle Erskine.
Art Truckee is a collaboration between David Borlongan, an art collector; Frank Rossbach, a German-born 5th generation glassblower; and photographers Michelle and Tim Erskine. All owners live in Truckee.
The Erskines, Borlongan, and Rossbach teamed up to open Art Truckee with the shared vision of returning the space to a place of art, culture, and theater — a social hub that draws artists and art lovers alike to walk the galleries, catch a show, or try their hand at blowing their own glass.
Each owner brings a unique talent and personality to the table and all want to retain as much of the historical integrity of the space as possible.
Michelle and Tim Erskine are photographers whose work has been displayed in locations around Truckee, one of which was Art Obsessions, a gallery owned by Borlongan. With a lifelong love of art, Borlongan followed in the footsteps of his father, who was an art buyer, collector, and friend of Picasso. Art Obsessions showcases the work of established international artists who paint scenes of the local Truckee/North Lake Tahoe area. The Erskines’ photography was alongside this collection.
Rossbach was a friend of Borlongan and the Erskines before becoming their Art Truckee business partner. Rossbach makes all of his glass art in his studio space at Art Truckee and uses repairable, high-quality Pyrex glass. He allows people to try their hands at blowing glass to make animals, ornaments, or wine glasses.
Rossbach’s glass art complements the surrounding brightly colored paintings and photography, reflecting light and adding a glowing effect to the gallery.
Along the right side of Art Truckee is gallery space for Art Obsessions, which features painter Michelle Courier. The Erskines’ photography is displayed throughout the entirety of the space. You almost can’t tell if they’re paintings or photographs because of a layer-fusion technique, which fuses different levels of light, allowing you to see into light and shadows, making the photograph look more realistic to what the eye actually sees.
Art Truckee speaks to you the entire time you’re there. All four owners are passionate and progressive about all art forms.
A stage, part of the original building, lies at the back of the space and the owners are working together to bring it to life once again, after years of silence. Back in the day, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, and Frank Sinatra performed on this stage, and in an effort to retain the historical integrity of the Art Truckee space, the owners are hosting live music, theater, dance, and other events.
Info: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 10072 Donner Pass Rd., (530) 587-8460, arttruckee.com