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Follow the cars parked along the streets of Amador County on Friday nights, and eventually the sound of melodies will overtake the crickets. From Plymouth to Pioneer, Amador Arts has been producing its TGIF Summer Concert Series across the county’s oak-dotted hillsides for 24 years – and Terra d’Oro winery has a part of every one.

The Amador Arts TGIF Free Summer Concerts have been entertaining locals and tourists since 1998.

“When we’re here at the winery hosting the first and last concerts of the year and attending the others throughout the summer, the first thing I always notice is that we see everybody together,” says Tracy Dehn, Direct to Consumer Manager of Trinchero Family Estates, which owns and operates Terra d’Oro winery in Plymouth. “They’re singing and they’re dancing, and there’s kids off to the side that are freestyle painting, and they are all smiling and laughing. The event doesn’t just bring the community together, but it brings generations of people together. Only music does that, and you don’t get it anywhere else.” 

On August 19, 2022 Dehn and her team will host the final concert of the 2022 TGIF season at Terra d’Oro Winery from 6 – 8pm. Featuring local funk-jazz band Ideateam, Dehn hopes the event will recreate the same joy and opportunity for artistic discovery she sees across TGIF concerts. 

 “Arts exposure offers people the strength and the confidence to be able to communicate in different ways,” says Dehn. “Maybe they can’t communicate by talking or looking you directly in the eye, but they can communicate to you by way of art. That’s what art and music provide to people. It all comes back to this.”

Participating in opportunities that foster artistic discovery and growth have kept Dehn, her team, and the Trinchero involved in Amador Arts Council programming for over two decades. Today, with state funding for the arts in public schools disappearing, Dehn believes it’s crucial for communities to support artistic opportunities wherever and whenever they can. 

“Art and music have really been some of the driving forces throughout history. Those being removed from schools is mind-blowing,” she says. “One of the core values of the Trinchero family is to lift up children, and the arts are just as important as English and math in schools.”

And she’s right: Arts education and exposure have been consistently linked to health and community benefits among all ages of people. According to data from the Brookings Institute, arts engagement among adults leads to increased civic engagement and greater social tolerance. In children, a rare empirical study by the Brookings Institute found access to art results in “remarkable impacts on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes,” including a decrease in disciplinary actions, and increases in compassion and standardized test scores. According to the New England Board of Higher Education, music exposure in particular children leads to increased language proficiency, memory, and strengthened hand-eye coordination. 

“Every one of us has this wonderful artistic quality about us, and the only way it is going to be explored and nurtured is by having the arts available to kids that can hold a crayon or a pencil or a paintbrush, and letting them go to town,” says Dehn. 

Every TGIF concert is free and open to the public, and includes not just live musical acts but access to free art supplies so attendees can create visual art while listening to local performers. These activities are made possible by contributions from Terra d’Oro winery, Jackson rancheria Miwok Indians, local businesses, and independent donors along with funding from the California Arts Council, a state agency. 

“We should all be thinking about this and talking about it in our community,” says Dehn. “We can all help contribute to the arts’ continuing success here.” 

To join Dehn, Terra d’Oro, and numerous others in donating funds to support Amador Arts initiatives please visit amadorarts.org.  Each year, Amador Arts is in need of thousands of supplies including high quality construction paper, 150 pound watercolor paper, fine-point black Sharpie markers, colored pencils, and glue sticks. Donations of these specific supplies are accepted at the Amador Arts office at 229 New York Ranch Rd, Jackson, CA Monday through Friday from 8:30am until 4:00pm. Donations of generic arts and crafts supplies are not accepted at this time.

by Staff Writers

Terra D'Oro Winery event with dancing

In 2022, Amador Arts begins and ends its FREE concert series at long-time partner, Terra d’Oro Winery in Shenandoah Valley, CA.

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