Art Basel Miami: Art on Steroids

Eric Brooks, artist and co-owner of Art Spot Reno had the privilege of going to Art Basel Miami, the art rave with 267 galleries showing their work from Dec. 3 to 6 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. He’s taken the time to blog about his experience for all of us who could not attend. Enjoy and imagine a warm Atlantic Ocean breeze while thawing from our bitter-cold temperatures.

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The body was tired but the mind was ready for more. At 7 a.m. we were sharing our photos and experiences as the bacon sizzled in the kitchen. Everyone’s hair was a frazzle and there was promise of rain for the rest of the week. Computers ticked away, coffee was made pot after pot, and conversation roared room to room about what would happen next.

The Miami Beach Convention Center is the main hub of Art Basel Miami Beach. With a capacity of 45,000 people, it was sure to be a day of journey and discovery. We fueled up, piled into the car and spent the next hour, giddy as kids waiting for Christmas day, crawling to our destination. It was 90 minutes before we jumped out of the car and walked the last half mile to the center. Two of our group had media passes, so they went right in. The rest of us had three hours to explore the surroundings before heading to the main event.

We knew Jeff Schomberg and Laura Kimpton had some of their letters on display. It only took a few minutes to find one of his candelabras and a fire engine red painted LOVE in one of the ritzy hotels just off the beach. Jeff, who also lives in Reno, was there and we were able to go inside and see the rest of the pieces displayed. It was fancy. It was stunning. Throughout the hotel grounds were assemblage sculptures done by Kimpton, my first experience of her work outside of the letters. We were able to talk for a hot minute about the installation, it’s obstacles and rewards. This whole blog could be just about that, but we can come back to that later.

The weather was perfect – humid, but not overpowering. The energy of the event was a tangible thing. Like electricity, unseen but definitely alive. We wandered down to the Bass Museum of Art, which was closed for renovation, but the grounds held a special installation of sculptures. In less than 24 hours, and not attending an official Art Basel Miami Beach event, the trip was already worth it. The park was full of nearly 20 works surrounded by groups of students on tour, tourists snapping pictures, and what seemed to be a regular crowd of locals taking it all in.

We took a break for one of the best ice cold beers I’ve ever had, peopled watched for half an hour, and headed to the castle.

There were 1,000 general admission ticket holders waiting in line when we got there. It might seem daunting, but the atmosphere was much like waiting in line for a concert festival. Strangers were in easy conversation with each other as the line snaked towards the entrance. The woman in front of us was a collector from New York City on a limited budget. She spoke of the excitement to be in town and even though she probably wouldn’t be able to get what she wanted, was ecstatic to be part of what was happening. As we entered, the masses enveloped her and most of our group into different directions.

Immediately to our right was a collection of Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and more of their peers. The majority of art in the center isn’t priced. It is bad etiquette to inquire the prices unless you are really thinking about a purchase. I was curious all day long and kept my ears open. On several occasions I heard a variety of numbers, but nothing ever under 6 figures. Much like the overwhelming feeling of the murals at Wynwood the night before, the sheer jungle of booths is hard to describe. Maybe we can compare it to someone first walking into a casino. It is a flash and daze going through your mind at every turn and corner.  You are instantly lost in a sea of flesh. Nothing looks familiar, time stands still and the buzz is a constant that begins to numb the senses. You get turned around and walk swiftly avoiding people’s bodies more with instinct than with your eyes.

After a few hours, things adjust, the pulse slows and the eyes connect with a rapid yes/no to whether or not you should stay in this miniature gallery for more than sixty seconds. This is an international event, each both labeled like a prized pig with the gallery name and city/country they’re from.

It was a unique experience to look at the work and see where it was coming from, seeing if there were geographic trends. Overall, Berlin is Berlin. If it stopped you in your tracks and made your head turn slightly sideways, it was probably Berlin. In my estimation, if this was a game of RISK, New York was going to win the game. What I enjoyed most was the strong and powerful presence of galleries representing Mexico and South America.

I am by noooooooo means part of the art academia, which this room was full of. If some sick God wanted to turn our worldwide culture back to the stone age, that is where the bomb would drop.. At a certain point I started finding pieces that moved me, then stand near to the piece, waiting for someone to come start talking about what it all meant. I never waited long and was never disappointed. Pictures were seemingly encouraged and there was a camera phone in every hand.

At 8 p.m. the doors were closing, we all met back up and the torrential rains began. Torrential. The traffic seemed slow coming in, but going home,  it was the most exciting 5 mile-an-hour ride I’ve ever had. The adrenaline was pumping, again like we had just left a concert, raging. The music got turned up loud and we shouted back and forth about what art we loved and booed at the ones we didn’t .

This is no ordinary reaction to art. This is art on steroids. This is the transformative power that art has had in the past and continues to provide. The phrase art revolution is thrown around a lot these days, in particular to the economic re-development that can come with it. Never more have I believed this to be true. This visceral reaction can transport a viewer into another realm. It can create want, desire, fear, repulsion and it will make people travel around the world to find out what they feel.

We got home, our gracious host met us in the living room — soaking wet, head lamp still turned on, with a plate of BBQ steaks. He was laughing, the first words out of his mouth, “What was the best thing you saw today.”

 

Eric Brooks, Curator

Eric Brooks, Curator

Eric Brook’s late night stroll in Miami

Eric Brooks, artist and co-owner of Art Spot Reno had the privilege of going to Art Basel Miami, the art rave with 267 galleries showing their work from Dec. 3 to 6 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. He’s taken the time to blog about his experience for all of us who could not attend. Enjoy and imagine a warm Atlantic Ocean breeze while thawing from our bitter-cold temperatures.

***

I had never met Alex Steneck. We talked on the phone twice, each time for less than a minute; and there had been one short email about us talking more soon. It didn’t happen. Nonetheless, I got a taxi to the airport at 5 a.m. and headed to Miami.

Alex had been in contact with the Potentialist Workshop for the past two years about the interactive art group performing during the Art Basel festival. When Executive Director Pan Pantoja was unable to go on a scouting trip, I happily stepped into his big shoes. We crossed into Miami-Dade County a little after 7 p.m. Traffic came to a standstill on the five-lane freeway two miles from the event epicenter. Alex told me a little bit about the city. The population of Miami – Dade County is nearly 3 million people, with 70% being Hispanic. It is unlike any other city in America, and this city loves its art.

We wound through downtown, up side streets, avoiding the police barricades directing traffic in what seemed like a methodical maze of slowness. Down alleys we maneuvered, swerving through the bend and pull of energy and madness. “The event doesn’t really begin until tomorrow. This is preview night for the movie stars, billionaires and some of the world’s biggest collectors,” Steneck said.

Alex has been living in Miami long enough to have seen the Art Basel event develop into one of the largest art fairs in the world. Art Basel was founded in 1970 in Basel, Switzerland, where art quietly was bought and sold. In 2002, Basel launched a satellite fair in Miami. This year’s estimated attendance is 70,000 people. Nearly 300 galleries will set up in the Miami Beach Convention Center, along with 16 satellites throughout the city. Galleries also pop up on almost every street. And then there are the murals. Let’s talk about the murals.

It took 45 minutes to negotiate one mile to Alex’ house. Swarms of pretty people stopped to see the myriad of murals on every surface imaginable, 20- feet ladders dotting the landscape, as crews were in full effect, building the next layer of public art.

I dumped my backpack and hit the street, took the first left, and the first alley left again. A 40×70 foot wall had two ladders with artists floating above the gravel lot. Two more were sitting with cigarettes, exhausted with a look of accomplishment shining out of eyes lit by spotlights powered by a generator 50-feet away.

They were from St. Petersburg, Fla., James Oleson, Sebastian Coolidge, Elijah Barrett and Zulu Painter. They were just finishing their second mural of the day. I asked if they were commissioned to do this large mural, and Oleson replied, “We came up a couple days ago and started contacting businesses to try and wrangle some walls. We don’t get paid, but we want to be part of the movement that’s going on. We have two more planned for the week, one we did last year was just painted over.”  I asked how they felt about the temporary nature of murals, especially in a neighborhood with such a high rate of turnover. “It’s personal preference, it’s part of the world. I don’t like it but what are you going to do.  Keep painting and make it so good no one will want to touch it” Coolidge said.

They went on to talk about the enthusiastic mural scene in St. Petersburg and how the city has embraced the culture of street art. None of the major crews paints without permission. “It’s not worth the risk of losing the art. We spend a lot of time planning and executing our pieces. We want them to stay around as long as possible” Oleson said.

In the next few blocks, I easily recognized two more of their pieces. It was 10:47 p.m., and before 11 p.m.,  I had walked past four more murals going up. The event hasn’t officially started, but in reality, it was well on its way.

I walked the streets until two in the morning. At a certain point, the overwhelming feeling had passed. I was no longer surprised at the sheer number, and began slowing down to talk with the artists and find out where they were from and why they were here. The youngest was from Orlando, a 17-year-old who was more interested in my beard than talking about his lettering. His friends were sitting around enjoying the tropical night. Then I turned a corner and found the Wynwood Walls. The late Tony Goldman had a goal to create a center where people would come experience some of the greatest street artists in the world. It would also serve as a source of economic redevelopment.

It is nearing three a.m. The house is full of visitors from around the country, crashing on floors and couches. I forced a few hours sleep. Tomorrow is just the beginning

Eric Brooks, Curator

Eric Brooks, Curator

Off Beat bound to be upbeat

In 1987, a small group in Austin, Texas decided to start an event to showcase their local creative and music communities to people outside of the capital state. It worked. The South By Southwest festival, known as SXSW, began with 700 registered participants and showcased 177 artists on 15 venues and stages. They also held 15 panels, workshops and sessions. Growth was steady over the early years. In 1994, they added interactive and film events. This year’s event, held March 11 through March 20, showcased 2,266 artists on 107 venues and stages, with 233 panels, workshops and sessions.

Two men in Reno, Baldo Bobadilla and Remi Jourdan, have decided to do something similar with the Off Beat Arts and Music Festival. Ninety local, regional and national music acts will be performing from Nov. 5 through Nov. 8 at 13 venues. Kicking off with Art Walk Reno and including the Midtown Mural Tour, the festival also flaunts the local creative talents of visual artists.

Even before the big event begins, I applaud Bobadilla and Jourdan for bringing their version of SXSW to our Biggest Little City. It’s events like this that will boost our economy. Twenty years ago, a group brought a festival to Reno called Uptown Downtown Artown, simply known today as Artown. It’s mission was to help revitalize downtown businesses. The month long festival in July has grown from 30,000 participants to around 350,000.

With the Off Beat Arts and Music Festival’s emphasis on local talent, especially in visual arts and music, I think this festival has the strong possibility of accomplishing what some say is Artown’s oversight — one that truly celebrates the community’s cultural strengths. Of course, that means we’ve got to get out and participate in the weekend activities. I attend plenty of arts events. I know many of the visual artists and have attended quite a few classical and jazz events. I even have my favorite DJs I’ll check out. But the Off Beat Festival has quite a few performers I’ve not heard of. This festival is giving me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and become familiar what else Reno has to offer.

For years, I’ve heard people complain about what Artown doesn’t provide. I hope all of those faultfinders will be out, helping make the Off Beat festival a big success.

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

A Community Remembers Tim Jones  

Here’s what some people in the Reno arts community had to say about Tim Jones and his recent passing:

Dave Aiazzi, former Reno City Councilman

Whenever you hear James Earl Jones, you think of ‘Star Wars’. It doesn’t matter whether you hear it in a radio ad or in another movie, that voice always reminds you of Darth Vader. Likewise, whenever I heard Tim Jones I thought of the arts. Whether it be at the Holland Project, testifying at the legislature (for the arts of course) or Artown his voice brought me back to how far we have come.

In being one of the founders of Artown in 1996, Tim was one of the few who saw the potential for downtown Reno. Since the first inception of Artown he was a non-stop advocate to teach businesses and governments that art has a big role to play in the culture and self-image of a city and its people.

I had the great honor of working with Tim on so many levels. As a council member, Artown Board member, volunteer for his projects, as an audience member. I fondly remember one year when “The Sound of Music” was rained out at Wingfield Park. With ‘The Show Must Go On’ Attitude, Tim asked my wife DeLores if we could show it in our place at Park Tower. So up we went, bringing along the few audience members who stuck around. They were so sad to be missing the show they wanted to join us. I’m glad they did because they were the conductors in singing every song in the movie. Just imagine about 15 people in a tiny condo on the Truckee River watch a production of “The Sound of Music” being projected on a wall.

That was Tim. I always saw him smiling but it was brighter than usual that night. All he ever wanted was to show how important the arts are. I am so pleased that he succeeded.

With me.

With the City he loved.

Reno is where it is today in no small measure because of Tim Jones.

Fare well my friend.

-dave

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Larry DiVincenzi, creative brand strategist at Biggest Little Group

“What I remember most about Tim is the way he made you feel.  How you could be the most important person in a room filled with chatter.  What he did for our community was very public…what he did for so many people was very private – and powerful.”

“We lost our community voice when Tim departed.  Our silence is testimony to the big talent, and incredible person that he was.”

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Nettie Crowder Oliverio, chairman of Reno Little Theater board

The loss of Tim Jones impacts our Arts Community on a lot of levels. He was a good friend to many, happy to share a great bottle of wine and succulent conversation. When the promise of an interesting project with a lot of moving parts reared its head, Tim was a natural collaborator for his ability to connect people and ideas. That same talent for connection plucked young people incubating new directions in artistic endeavors from isolation as Tim graciously mentored and guided them, introducing them to like-minded parts of the community that could help them.  For an organization concerned they were having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees, Tim was a first call for consultation. And to my knowledge, he never said no.

All of our Arts Community has benefited from Tim’s penchant for political advocacy, whether they know it or not. In his 12 years on the Nevada Arts Council his natural curiosity about how the pieces come together to form the whole led him to learn the players and their predilections related to support of the arts. As any good Development officer would do, Tim helped elected representatives understand the place and power of the arts in Nevada’s economy, which then offered them a compelling reason to support legislation that would grow and stabilize the State arts budget.  

To our tremendous benefit, he didn’t keep those insights to himself. Via Tim’s encouragement and leadership, we all had an opportunity to learn from his model and engage in advocacy ourselves. Within hours of his passing members of the Arts Community were already communicating their dedication to keeping his work alive and moving forward, insistent that it MUST continue.

There’s SO much that Tim touched, engendered, influenced and motivated. His thoughtful understanding of the Work of Art and his projects telling the story of that work, his role in the creation of Artown, his ongoing presence in Artown with his curated “Movies in the Park”, his shepherding, his willingness to co-chair the Reno Arts Consortium when he had every right to take some time off from arts leadership…the list goes on. Much work remains to be done and Tim’s loss is a huge lacuna, but he left us with tools and knowledge. The best leaders teach others to lead. Tim did.

Celebrating Tim Jones, Reno’s dedicated arts advocate

I had the pleasure of first meeting Tim Jones on March 25, 2013. I was writing a big story on arts advocacy and the attempt, led by Jones, as president of the Nevada Arts Council board, to persuade state legislature to restore funding to the agency, whose mission it is to ensure state and national funds support cultural activities and encourage participation in the arts throughout Nevada.

Over a two-hour coffee at Homage Bakery, he and Nettie Oliverio impressed me with their dedication and passion for the arts. They were a great team. Nettie was the lighthearted, but informative one; while Tim was stern and on point. Four days later, I lost that job and the story never was published. For some reason, I kept those transcribed notes. What he had to say about the arts was too important to delete from my hard drive.

On Sept. 28, Tim passed away and Reno (as well as the state) lost one of its esteemed arts champions. I reviewed those old notes and want to share a few of his quotes. Reading them, I immediately heard his soothing, calming voice, one that people listened to and respected. I sincerely hope we cherish and carry on his objectives. And may his memory be for a blessing.

Here are excerpts from my March 25, 2013 interview with Tim Jones:

“The arts helped people living in Reno to rediscover their own city.”

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“Part of the work that we do is constantly reminding people of the role arts and culture in our city, in our state and in our country. As far as Reno goes, I like to remind people that so much of what has happened in our city, growth wise, started with a single arts festival in 1996 that was called “Uptown Downtown Artown.” That has evolved into Artown. But everything that we have seen in our downtown development, especially along the arts and culture corridor and now spreading into other neighborhoods, started with an arts festival. And it spawned everything, from business development to the kayak whitewater park to residential condos, business investment spreading through to Midtown. People took note of what happened in 1996 and the subsequent years and invested heavily in our downtown area and improved the quality of life for everyone.”

**

When we talk before the Reno City Council, certainly when we talk before other lawmakers and people who make decisions, we like to stress what the arts do for communities. We help the economy, because when the arts move in and become part of the quality of life, business takes note and they invest in the community.

**

It’s important for everyone to always remind each other and elected officials about the power of the arts to make sure this growth is sustained.

**

A state composed of cities, communities — whether urban or rural — rich in the arts benefits everybody. It happens every single day of the year.

Reno: It’s a Different Day

I’ve returned from my 10-day adventure in the Black Rock Desert at Burning Man. It was  exhilarating as ever, even with its sandstorms and freezing temperatures.

Once again, I had the pleasure of writing the art tour script and gave art tours to people who wanted to learn about the magnificent installations that spanned the playa. During the two-hour tour, I only was able to chat about approximately 40 of the 94 pieces that were awarded part of the $1.2 million Burning Man Arts bestowed this year. We tour guides were encouraged to make the tour our own, which meant I could emphasize some of the works that had a Reno connection. Get ready!

It was quite apropos that the first piece the art car passed was the FUNnel of Creation, which was built by Jeremy Evans and the Reno Core. With it’s brightly lit steel rods and fire poofers on top, it was a very impressive piece at night and one of my beacons to find my way back to camp. In close proximity was Pentamonium, built by Gary Gunderson in Seattle, Wash. Although it wasn’t built here, the 18-feet tall steel kinetic sculpture has a Reno connection. The Gateway Project, a coalition of nonprofits and community groups that is raising funds to bring artwork from the playa, is having a fundraiser on Oct 16. On Oct. 17, they’re celebrating the installation of Pentamonium in Idlewild Park.

Every year, a few installations become places for rituals, like weddings, and Mazu Goddess of the Empty Sea became one of those. In addition to telling the story of Mazu and highlighting its symbolic Chinese features, I told them that this temple was built at the Generator, a community art and builders space in Sparks. It was the ideal opportunity to talk about the 34,000 square feet workspace that operates on Burning Man’s 10 principles. Then we rode by David Boyer’s wind sculpture, Kinetic Forest, and I got to tell them to also walk around the arts district in downtown Reno and see his sculptures moving in the breeze.

Jeff Schaumberg and Laura Kimpton have shown us how powerful and precious words can be. This year, they planted a garden of affirmations: Dream, Be, OK, Live. This was my time to talk about all of the Burning Man art that has found a home in Reno, including our own word — Believe.

The Man is the focal point of this event, which drew approximately 70,000 people. He stood 60 feet-tall and stood on a 9-feet-tall base, which was covered with 32 hand-painted sideshow banners that were designed by Rex Norman, aka Killbuck, and painted at the Generator. At 320 linear feet, his whimsical bannerline probably set a world record.

Last year, Peter Hazel wowed us with his elegant daffodil mosaic. This year, the Verdi resident’s Manta Ray soared and glistened above the playa.

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, while Mayor Hillary Schieve delivered her state of the city address “It’s A New Day in Reno,” I had the pleasure of telling people from around the country and world the state of Reno’s arts scene. By the time they got off that art car, these participants knew Reno has a vibrant arts scene and is a major contributor to this festival’s art. I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s a new day, but I’ll definitely say it’s a different day.

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

 

Provided by RGJ.

FUNnel of Creation

Taken by Geralda Miller,

Manta Ray by Peter Hazel

Killbuck and his Bannerline

Taken by Wobsarazzi.

Mazu Goddess of the Empty Sea

Taken from Gateway Project.

Pentamonium by Gary Gunderson

Photo taken by Larry DiVicenzi

Mazu Goddess of the Empty Sea

Get off the Streets and Into the Alleys

I remember sitting in the back seat of a station wagon at 10-years-old when the car slightly slowed and my mother turned around in her seat and pointed out the window, “Look, it’s a mural.”

We were driving south on Interstate 5 and I can still see those figures floating above me on the side of the freeway. Since then, I have enjoyed murals — true public art — all over the world. Some of my favorites were on giant abandoned buildings in rural Poland, painted specifically to cater to the railways on which thousands commuted daily. Murals everywhere — Berlin, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Milwaukee and yes, Reno.

Reno is the Berlin of Nevada.

The first mural I saw here was a praying Native American on the back side of what was once Club Bass, located next door to the Reno Bike Project. The alley now has several murals with more on the way. The murals of Reno are spectacular and Art Spot Reno is incredibly excited to launch a self-guided mural tour on artspotreno.com.

The city is being slowly, but surely, covered in art and Midtown is a great place to begin your immersion. Two key names to look for are Erik Burke (OverUnder) and Joe C. Rock. They are the most prolific muralists in town, and it’s fascinating as you take the tour, to see their growth over the years. One clue to trace Burke’s advancement, the number after “OverUnder” is the age he was when the mural was painted.

This summer is going to be a full on art attack! That reminds me, Bryce Chisholm has a fantastic piece on the west side of Nevada Fine Arts. It’s one of the best walls in our city. Bryce also will be one of the seven artists competing in the 2nd annual Circus Circus Mural Marathon. This year, it is expanding into an art experience, with vendors setting up in the street and lots of interactive family fun.

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to explore and discover the hidden gems dotted throughout our city. Use our Google map and roam on your own or sign up for a guided tour with a docent who has all the secrets.

Eric Brooks, Curator

Eric Brooks, Curator

Now to Move From Good to Great

I’m the type of person who has difficulty celebrating my birthday. Instead, it’s a time for introspection, and I ask myself lots of questions. Am I living my life to the fullest? Am I where I want to be in my life? And if not, why. They’re the kind of questions that can motivate or stifle. For me, they’ve been motivators.

As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of re-launching this website and coordinating the Art Walk, I have to ask similar questions. Is Art Spot where we want it to be? Have we successfully marketed Art Spot, continuing to reach more Reno residents? Are we doing all we can through the business to help build a community that embraces the arts? And if not, why.

When my business partner (Eric Brooks) and I started, our goal was to support businesses that support the arts. But we soon found out that we not only had to support businesses, we also had to support the artists. We designed a funky flag for businesses to hang. We built a super website that has an artist registry and a calendar, so everyone knows where to go and what to do in the arts.

In my evaluation of our first year, I’d say we’re doing a pretty good job. More businesses want local art on their walls and more artists are showing  and SELLING their work. But I’m the over achiever and a “C” grade never was acceptable. So, that means we’ve got work to do to make sure there isn’t an empty seat in theaters, visual artists have ample avenues to show their work, and more Reno residents engage in the arts scene. I truly believe in our slogan — More Art Everywhere — and want more people in our city to realize that.

I’m going to do everything I can to get an “A” in art!

 

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

What’s Next?

As a journalist, I never attended a Reno City Council meeting. Over the years, I’d hear newsroom stories about the colorful characters that had become fixtures in Council chambers. But there was no reason for me to attend.

Because of Art Spot’s commitment to extend the reach of the arts culture into our community, I’ve spoken to them twice in the past five months. The first time, former councilwoman Sharon Zadra asked us to tell them how Art Spot Reno is participating in Reno’s economic redevelopment. And in February, I gave public comment in support of the Generator’s proposal to lease land near Dickerson Road from the city for $1 a year, for five years. The Generator also would have a three-year option to buy the land for $860,000 without having to go to public bid for the parcels.

I told City Council I think Reno is poised to become a culturally vibrant city and a true arts destination. I also said Reno should be a hotbed of creativity that will power innovations across economic sectors. A creative community workspace, like the Generator Phase 2, would help make this happen.

Matt Schultz, the Genny’s Executive Director, is part of a team that wants to turn an empty plot near the railroad tracks into a sculpture park with tiny artist-in-residence housing, and a 50,000 square-foot industrial arts and invention center. He wants to place a large Spanish-style ship constructed for Burning Man 2012, called Pier 2, on the property and rebuild a sculpture called Embrace that was built and burned last year at Burning Man. Pier 2 is 60 feet long, 20 feet tall at the tip of its keel, and 12 feet wide with a 60 foot main mast. He also wants to include a selection of temporary sculptures. I hope that includes Kate Raudenbush’s Dual Nature, which is in a nearby storage.

I’ve attended Burning Man for the past seven years, so I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some spectacular art on the playa. And for the past two years, I’ve given art tours. As I said in a previous blog, last year I had plenty art built by local artists to brag about, including the 62-feet-high couple that were in an embrace. The piece was impressive in scale and it filled me with pride to say it was built at the Generator, but aesthetically, it wasn’t my favorite piece on the playa. Instead of rebuilding it, I’d personally rather see what’s next.

Matt’s vision raised some concerns from neighbors, one who has been using the vacant property to access his warehouse and another who has been using some of it for parking. And then there was the owner of another local arts group who raised the “what ifs.” What if Matt’s California-based funder pulls out and these artists are left high and dry with no place else to go, Tim Conder, co-founder of Cuddleworks, posed in the Reno News & Review article.

Hmmm…am I the only one who remembers the Salvagery from a few years ago? Not that I think that would happen, but I’ve seen these resilient artists move from a space on Fourth Street to a place near Park Lane Theaters, while another group started Reno Art Works on Dickerson Road. And then came the Generator in Sparks. Because a group of artist got together to paint pianos for Artown at the Salvagery, thank you Dave Aiazzi, we now have two great artist spaces. So I’m not too concerned and spending much time asking ‘what if.’

I also think Paul Buchheit, the inventor of Gmail and the Generator’s major donor, makes an important point that our City Council and community needs to pay attention to. He told the Reno News & Review: “This is obviously a project that we’ve invested a lot of time and everything else into, so I want it to be a success,” he said. “I want to see it be a success, and to me this is the next stage in that evolution. I think that it’s an opportunity for Reno and the whole community to create something that has really never existed. … What’s most important to me is to see that community support. It has to come from the community, ultimately. I can help out in my own way, but ultimately, really, the whole thing comes from the community. It’s just a matter of giving that extra little push from the start.” If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is!

Since sitting in that four-hour city council meeting, I’ve spent time, thinking about writing this blog and conveying the real impact I think the Generator will make on our city. This isn’t just another fun warehouse in which to have parties. This is a center that will change the cityscape and how people think about our city. Most importantly, it will change how Reno thinks about Reno. Yes, it is a three-month hub for international creative building for Burning Man. But at the end of the day, it’s me, you, and our children who will be benefiting most from what the Generator has to offer as a year-round creative center.

City Council tabled the land deal, asking Matt for more information. It will be discussed again on Wednesday, March 25. I hope to see all of you who believe Reno can be an arts destination at City Council chambers. And send your councilman/woman a message, letting them know you favor using this land for the Generator. (schieveh@reno.gov, bobziend@reno.gov, BrekhusJ@reno.gov, DuerrN@reno.gov, delgadoo@reno.gov,mckenziep@reno.gov, Jardonn@reno.gov)

Do we want this or not? Do we want something that will truly be part of Reno’s cultural evolution or do we want to sit back and ask what if?

I say, instead of asking what if, let’s ask why not!

 

We heard you!

When my business partner and I re-launched Art Spot Reno last year, our objective was to have a kick-ass website that would become the hub for finding out what’s happening in the Reno arts community. I think we’ve accomplished that. But after attending the Artists Forum last week and hearing the comments, it was evident that we’ve not done a good enough job getting the word out about what we’ve got going on here.

I heard several people voice concern that the local newspaper no longer has an arts calendar. It was quite apparent to me that was imminent, which is why we’ve got a thorough and up-to-date calendar of arts events. Please use it and tell your friends about it. This should become your go-to for finding out what’s happening. I guarantee after you peruse the calendar, you’ll agree with our slogan that there’s More Art Everywhere. And contact us if we’re missing something.

We’ve got 14 different categories, but I’m beginning to think we missed one — calls to artists. There are some great opportunities coming up for artists and I want to make sure as many as possible know about them. Since deadlines are looming for these, I’m going to tell you about the ones I know. I also heard several artists voice concern at the forum that Reno’s needs more arts patrons, buying their work. Well, the flip side to that is: you’ve got to keep creating work and showing it. I’ll see you at the next Artist Forum, which will be April 16th at the Generator.

Here’s what I know:

The Gateway

The Gateway Project is commissioning 25 sculptures, made from at least one bicycle, which will be displayed around town during Artown and auctioned at a gala in October. Selected artists will get $500 and 10 percent of the final auction price to help cover costs. The deadline has been moved to WEDNESDAY, March 4. For details: visit https://www.facebook.com/renogatewayproject, or http://renogatewayproject.com/.

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Circus Circus Reno 24-Hour Mural Marathon

Circus Circus has opened its call for artists to participate in the 24-hour Mural Marathon. Seven muralists get a wall to showcase their work. The artists will compete for prize money, $2,000 to the first place winner, $1,000 to the second place winner and $500 to the third place winner. Each artist receives a $750 stipend to pay for paint and materials. The competition begins at 10 a.m. on July 10th and ends at 10 a.m. July 11th. Submission are due no later than midnight April 16. For details, visit: http://www.circusreno.com/entertainment/mural-marathon.aspx.

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Art BLAST

The City of Reno is seeking artists for the 4th annual Art BLAST, a juried art fair and gallery show held at McKinley Arts and Culture Center on Sept. 4 and 5. The booth fee for selected artists is $50.00, but there is no fee to apply. The deadline for entries is April 10. For details, visit: http://www.reno.gov/home/showdocument?id=48526.

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator