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World-renowned visual artist Josee Nadeau, who has lived in Park City for the past five years, gets into the zone at the TAG Ranch in Wanship as cameras and fans look on. Nadeau will paint live to a 25-piece chamber orchestra during the ranch's fundraiser on Saturday, June 29. (Photo courtesy Josee Nadeau)
TAG Ranch and Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Wanship, was established nearly two years ago with a mission "to give children a safe, educational and life-enhancing environment to develop skills to become productive, confident and compassionate adults."

"TAG stands for The Authentic Generation, which is what all kids are a part of," said ranch Executive Director MaryLee Robinson. "I've had the dream of opening the TAG Ranch for many years because it gives kids a chance to get away from technology and discover who they are."

When the children, ages nine to 14, attend a ranch camp session, they learn how to work with horses.

"They groom these animals and, with the help of certified clinicians, the kids go through a whole series of horsemanship skills to ensure the safety of the kids and of the animal," Robinson said. "Through this type of groundwork, the children build a bond and trust with the horse."

Not only do the young participants learn how to lead horses through a series of gestures and commands, they also learn how to care for the horses and even muck out the stalls.

"The whole premise is to build upon these kids' self worth and self-confidence, by being in care of a 1,000-pound animal," Robinson said.

The kids also play softball.

"I coached softball for several years and saw kids' self-confidence level rise off the charts," Robinson said. "Softball teaches these kids the concept of teamwork and how to win and lose graciously."

To raise money for an on-location softball field, dubbed "The Field of Dreams," TAG Ranch and Foundation will host a Cowboys with Heart fundraiser on Saturday, June 29.

The event will feature food, libations, a silent auction featuring works from local and international artists and an artist-in-motion performance with 25 members of the Salt Lake Symphony, directed by Robert Baldwin, and painter Josee Nadeau, an internationally renowned artist who lives in Park City.

"One of the things that the kids do on the ranch is art," Robinson said. "The kids work with local and international artists to create these wonderful pieces to take home.

"Art, to me, is a form of self expression that has a beauty that is in the eye of the beholder. And the beauty of it is that what comes out onto the canvas is what is inside their hearts."

So, it made sense that the fundraiser would include visual arts.

Nadeau, whose works have been collected by the President Honoree of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, has lived in Park City for five years.

She is the protégé of Gerald Van der Kemp — curator of the Palace of Louis XIV and the man who saved the Mona Lisa from the Nazis — whose wife Florence invited her to France and provided her a studio on the grounds of Claude Monet's gardens.

In addition, she began painting to live music after she met the late former Beatle, George Harrison in 2000. Since then, she has painted for Harry Belafonte, and Dionne Warwick's 50th Anniversary Celebration in show business gala, and was chosen to travel to East and South Hampton to provide art for Ralph Lauren's fall collection last year.

Nadeau just completed a three-month show at the World Equestrian Festival in Palm Beach, Fla., and was invited to paint live at the IX Annual World Cup Polo on the Beach event in Miami.

Not only will Nadeau paint live during the TAG Ranch Fundraiser, she will show 20 of her horse- and Western-themed paintings in the ranch's stables.

"I will be painting on top of a fireplace mantle, which will be very different for me because I like to back up when I work to see the piece," Nadeau said with a laugh. "I just have to be careful not to fall off the mantle."

The painter, who was approached to participate in the fundraiser by Dr. Nicole McLaren, a veterinarian whose daughter rides at the TAG Ranch camp, says appearing at fundraisers is a major part of her livelihood.

"I am so delighted to be a part of this event," she said. "In addition to the exposure and having the opportunity to share my art with an audience, I think that it's important to do things like this because this is a different type of fundraiser than the ones many people are used to attending.

"It's important to bring something new to the viewer," she said. "It's captivating and there is an elegance to something like this."

Nadeau is also looking forward to working with the Salt Lake Symphony, which she first did in during one of its concerts last October.

"Maestro Robert Baldwin is great to be doing this with me again," Nadeau said. "When I painted with the symphony last fall, he was looking back and forth between the musicians and my painting on the screen, because he wanted to see what I was doing. He understands what I'm doing. He gets it."

Nadeau said the collaboration with her and the musicians is more than just a performance.

"It's me getting into my zone and painting for the public," she said. "It's a lot of fun, because not only do I get to share what I do, but every individual gets a different feeling of emotion from the evolution of the piece as it unfolds before their eyes."

Robinson said she hopes attendees will learn and understand what the TAG Ranch and Foundation is about.

"The ranch is for any child and is all meant to give them confidence to make better choices, so when they're presented with life's little challenges, they can make the rich decisions."

TAG Ranch and Foundation, 1738 W. Hoytsville Rd. in Wanship, will host a Cowboys with Heart fundraiser on Saturday, June 29, from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. The event will include food, drinks and a silent auction featuring artwork by 14 local artists. Park City-based visual artists Josee Nadeau will paint live to a performance of members from the Salt Lake Symphony. The funds will help build a softball field at the ranch, which provides youth a safe and educational environment to develop confidence and skills for life. Tickets are $100 per person. For more information, visit www.tagranch.com . For more information about Josee Nadeau's art, visit joseenadeau.com and Sky Lodge on Main Street.