In a city of over two million, the Princess Highway sculptures are part of a sprawling collection of works that are part urban art, part social history and part cultural icon.
These are not just buildings.
The structures themselves have a history and aesthetic all their own.
The artists and historians at the Princess highways have been documenting their work in the form of books, magazine articles and essays, but there’s one thing that sets them apart: The work itself.
“This is a piece that is about being in the city and being connected to that place, but also being able to look at the landscape in the same way,” says artist Laura J. Kline.
“And when I talk about the city as a place where you have to interact with people, and as a community, the people are not necessarily the same people who are living here.”
Jody Kline grew up in South Lake Tahoe, where she spent most of her childhood.
She remembers seeing the streets of her family’s town when she was very young.
“I’ve never seen anything like that, and I’ve seen that the world has moved a lot in the last 20 years,” she says.
Jody was able to see the city through the eyes of her father.
His job as a security guard was a way to keep his family and friends together during times of danger.
“He was a very strong-willed man,” Jody says.
“He was just like a big kid, and he always wanted to be the strongest person that he could be.”
Jodi Kline was born in Tahoe and grew up on the north shore of Lake Tahoes.
Her father worked as a guard for a local bank and she says he took care of the family.
She credits that for her father’s love of art and his commitment to making art.
“It was really important to him to have his family around,” Jodi says.
As an adult, Jodi worked as an artist and also went to college.
But she never had the opportunity to experience her father making a living as a bank guard.
“It was just very rare,” Jodies mother says.
She says it was her mother’s dream to be a banker herself.
Jodi says her father was always supportive of art, but he wasn’t into traditional forms.
“When he started getting involved with the art, he just wanted to create a beautiful work, and his passion was making beautiful things,” Joda says.
She says she didn’t realize the significance of her dad’s love for art until she was a teenager.
“His love for making beautiful pieces was something I didn’t really know at the time,” she explains.
“And it was kind of my dad, the person that I am today.”
Jodie was able a few years ago to open her own gallery, but she says she always kept the focus on her art.
“My art has always been about finding the beauty in the world, finding the joy in the art,” she said.
“But now I’m really looking for that beauty in everything.”
The Princess Highway, which was created by the art team at Princess highways, opens at the Lake Tahoa County Fairgrounds on Sept. 15.
For more information on the Princess highway, visit princess highways.org