The New “Misfits”

A couple of years ago, I viewed an impressive exhibit at the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center about a group of artists who lived in Virginia City after World War II and experimented with abstract art.

“Post-War Bohemians in Northern Nevada” showcased 60 pieces, including works from Zoray Andrus, Betty Bliss, Nancy Bowers, Gus Bundy, Robert Cole Caples, Ben Cunningham, Joanne de Longchamps, Robert Hartman, Ruth Hilts, Louis Siegriest, Craig Sheppard, Yolande Sheppard, Adine Stix, Marge Tanner, Richard Guy Walton and Ed Yates.

I was amazed that these artists had found their way, between 1945 and 1965, to this gritty town located in the mountains about 30 miles southeast of Reno. When I think of a respite for artists during those years in the West, Mabel Dodge Luhan and her artist colony in Taos, New Mexico immediately comes to mind. This was where one of my favorite artists, Georgia O’Keeffe, escaped to in 1929 and continued to visit until she finally relocated in 1949 to property outside of Santa Fe.

She might not have been a wealthy heiress as Luhan, but Andrus was the Virginia City hostess. She and her husband converted a brewery into a studio and living quarters around 1935, which became the popular gathering place for artists.

Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift might have coined the phrase with their 1961 film, but these Virginia City artists were Northern Nevada’s true misfits.

neurontin 300 mg cost A little quirky

Reno now has its misfits.

They’re in warehouses on Dickerson Road, at the Generator in Sparks, on both ends of Fourth Street, in Midtown, and spreading like cheatgrass.

Reno Art Works, which is an organization located in one of those Dickerson Road warehouses that provides gallery and studio space for artists, sells a great T-shirt that should be the misfit’s credo: “Keep Reno Awkward.”

I’m not sure where “West of Center” is, but I immediately understand awkward, or my favorite adjective for Reno – quirky.

It’s a city where Hawaiian florals and hipster plaids mingle in the halls while watercolor landscapes and abstracts hang on walls. It’s a city where a theater company decides to showcase new, local works instead of the familiar.

They’re the new misfits – the rebels, the individualists, the mavericks.

These misfits sure do sound like they fit Nevada’s libertarian ethos to me.

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

Art Spot Flags are a Symbol of Cultural Vibrancy

Oh, say, can you see in the day’s abundant light all those vibrant Art Spot Reno flags flying in the Truckee Meadows?

Maybe you never noticed the flags, splashed with a vivid “Art Spot,” hanging in front of cafés, art galleries, boutiques and other Reno businesses. Or maybe you’ve seen the banners and wondered what they meant.

The flags started popping up in the autumn months of 2012 at places that show art. But they’re more than just a marker. They symbolize the ideal of community engagement, help build our city’s arts and culture identity and, along with that, a sense of pride.

I first noticed one hanging outside Homage Bakery and immediately asked the owner about it. She flew the flag because art created by local artists hung on most walls in her quaint house-converted-into-a-cafe. But I realized another reason Homage deserved to be an Art Spot. Her baked delicacies also are works of art — briefly admired before savored.

anyone buy accutane online An Arts “Renossance”

Last month, I attended Burning Man’s Global Leadership Conference in San Francisco. More than 300 people from around the world converged to share ideas on how to grow the Burning Man ethos.

One of the first presentations during the plenary session was delivered by three people who are working on projects in Reno. They titled their presentation, “Renossance.” Collectively, they shared how Reno has become a hotbed of creative expression. I sat in my chair and had my Michelle Obama moment. For the first time in my 11 years living in Reno, I felt proud to be from The Biggest Little City in the World. For the rest of the conference, when people from all those big cities heard I was from Reno, they praised what we’re doing here. I proudly was waving my internal flag.

A few years ago, I wrote an article saying there was a flicker in Reno’s arts community and time would tell if that would grow. Well, it has. I’m going to agree with those three presenters that we are in the “Renossance.”

So now, what?

Now is the time to wave our flag and boast our arts scene – our visual artists, our musicians, our actors, our writers, our dancers and those who appreciate/enjoy it.

Now is the time to rebuild our city’s cultural identity.

Geralda_Miller

Geralda Miller, Curator