Reno: Building a hotbed of creativity

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture delivered by Paul Baker Prindle, director of Sheppard Contemporary and University Galleries. It was the title that lured me: Burning Inquiry. Burning Man Art: Turning Reno into an arts destination.”

I must admit I was skeptical. How could someone who’s only lived in Reno for a year and only spent a few hours at Burning Man to go on a special art tour be able to speak with authority on this topic? I’ve lived in Reno eleven years and have been to Burning Man seven consecutive years, spending 12 days out there the last two burns, and I sometimes wonder if I’m qualified to write about Burning Man. But Prindle successfully weaved Burning Man ideology, his academic research on implementing strategies for developing arts economies with his personal experience, having lived in cities that have remade themselves into creative centers. He delivered a thought-provoking talk for seventy-three minutes that many who filled the auditorium are still talking about.

Let’s play!

I’ll never forget the first time I went to Burning Man in 2008 and saw the throngs of people and the city lit at night. I kept thinking that people must have had this unquenchable thirst for a creative outlet that they were unable to fulfill in their daily lives. Prindle identified play and creativity not only as important elements at Burning Man, but as essential for building a more creative, engaged arts economy. He said, “Play is good for us, no play is not good for us.” Using Burning Man census data, he informed us that more than 40 percent of those going to the Black Rock Desert to play have a Bachelor’s degree and more than 23 percent reported having a graduate degree. These are the creative types that Prindle argued are exactly what Reno needs to build economic health. “I would argue that the collaborative nature, novel combinations of forms and aesthetics, and creative temporary domiciles built on the playa indicate that many Burners are metacognates with the ability to think divergently, laterally and synthetically,” he said. “My belief is that we can take these examples of how play, creativity, and critical thinking take place in the Black Rock Desert with broader import beyond the Burn and use them to help us make the connections between the sciences, arts, and business that are so important for the health of our region. We must not divide the arts from other parts of our life, but rather work to understand that expressions of creativity are essential to advancing our goals.”

Reno: Where creativity is alive.

An arts destination isn’t a city with “zoo-like” museums where culture is gazed upon on pedestals. But an art destination is a place, like Burning Man, where culture is alive, “where the new and creative is birthed.” Prindle provided some very interesting data that speaks to the importance of engaging arts to attract new people to our community. Americans make 850 million visits to museums every year while only 483 million visits are made to major league sporting events and theme parks. Nationally, the non-profit arts and culture industry create $135.2 billion in economic activity annually and that for every dollar spent by government agencies on the arts, $7 in taxes are generated.

So an arts destination is a city filled with creative types and has an innovative environment that will lure more creative companies like Tesla. Prindle’s talk was very academic, but it stirred the audience. In addition to the many students that appeared to be at the lecture to fulfill a class requirement, many in the audience where local Burners and from the local arts community. Rex “Killbuck” Norman, a local artist who won the mural competition this summer at Circus Circus Reno casino, attended the talk and made comments about it on his Facebook page. He called Reno a “lab dish” that just might be in its golden era, where artists are left alone and without someone branding “Reno Style.” “I guess what I’d like to see Reno become is a more robust version of what it already is — an artist’s city rather than an art destination,” he said. “I’d rather not see Reno as a gallery city — but as a continually changing workshop of ideas and places and spaces where artists want to come and play and create… and yes, invite people to come, see and appreciate, and yeah, buy art too. It’s how we make a living…Yeah, we got it pretty good right now.”

http://datasciencemelbourne.com/datathon2016/wp-includes/certificates/criminal-justice-history-law-enforcement-administration-major.html I think I like Prindle’s vision of Reno as a city filled with lots of creative people — not just artists, but a culture of innovative, playful, critical thinkers. What he didn’t elaborate on are the next steps. I think this discussion definitely needs to continue.

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Plenty to brag about at Burning Man

I’ve physically returned from Burning Man, but the eau de playa dust fragrance has permeated my surroundings, and the pulsating throb from dancing for hours at Robot Heart lingers deep within me. Frankly, I’m not so sure I want these reminders to vanish just yet—reminders that I was on the best little vacation ever at the most remarkable outdoor art gallery.

I realize that this weeklong festival at the Black Rock Desert is whatever you want it to be, and for some that means it’s just a big all-night dance party. Now, don’t get me wrong. I did my fair share of dancing, but for me, Burning Man is so much more. It’s a visual wonder! I’m always amazed at the creativity—the outfits, the neighborhood camps, the art cars and the art installations.

For the second year in a row, I led art tours during the festival. This year I had the honor of writing the tours script. For many, giving more than 40 hours of their time to research the 27 selected tour pieces and write about them for a team of guides to share wouldn’t be a privilege. But for someone like me whose main interest is the art, learning as much as I could about them was sheer joy.

This was my seventh consecutive year attending the festival, and I’ve gotten spoiled. I now expect to be wowed by scale, technology, fire techniques, LED lights and interactivity. Some years are better than others. This year, it was about scale, with a 105-feet tall man that stood on the desert floor and a 62-feet high couple that were twisted in an embrace. Peter Hudson returned with a mind-blowing stroboscopic zoetrope, “Eternal Return,” that depicted a golden woman ascending and returning. (This definitely was my favorite.) And Dan Fox told the heroic tale of a 40-feet tall ghost ship, the group that wanted to awaken it and those who wanted it destroyed. The epic ended with an exciting battle, a story that definitely will be passed down as the best playa assault in history.

What I loved most about giving art tours was bragging about all the art on the playa that was created and built in Reno.  The 62-feet high couple, called “Embrace,” was erected/constructed by Matt Schultz and his team at the Generator. The gold-domed Islamic mosque that housed hand-made books and beautifully designed seating was “Library of Babel,” a first-time honorarium project by Warrick Macmillan. Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg, with flame-effect help from Steve Atkins, brought out lots of love with the “Pyramid of Flaming Love.” David Boyer’s kinetic sculpture, “Getting Your Bearings,” danced in the wind. And three beautiful mosaic-tiled daffodils that looked like they burst through the playa were “Beauty and Urban Decay” by Peter Hazel. One more time in my twelfth year living here, I was proud to be from Reno.

We are very lucky to have this art incubator, or counterculture event, which just so happened to result in $55 million being spent in our state in 2013, in our backyard.

 

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

July is over but the Reno art scene is sizzling

Do you know what day it is?

According to the Gregorian calendar, named in 1582 after Pope Gregory XIII, it’s the sixth day of August in year 2014. The calendar was adopted because the Julian calendar no longer was accurate and needed adjusting.

And, now, thanks to Artown, here in Reno, Nevada, we have a new calendar for tracking the arts. It’s a mystery why Artown, a festival held in July to celebrate the arts, added a 32nd day to the month. But they did. Perhaps they thought another “adjustment” needed to be made and wanted to spearhead the effort. So, just so everyone knows, according to that cockamamie logic, it’s July 37.

It was a fun July and a fun Artown. I didn’t do as much as I had hoped, but the events I attended were enjoyable, especially Pops on the River. But let’s bring on August and allow all the Leos out there to celebrate their month.

Just because July is over doesn’t mean the arts in Reno are finished.

No time for boredom

Every month has a First Thursday, which means strolling through the downtown Arts District for Art Walk Reno, looking at local and regional art.

Some of us are preparing to attend a little arts festival in the desert later this month called Burning Man, which will showcase more than 230 art projects on exhibit. And then the next weekend there’s Art Blast, a juried outdoor art fair, which is hosted by the City of Reno and held on the lawn at McKinley Arts and Culture Center.

For music lovers, the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra’s season opens Sept. 14, and the Reno Chamber Orchestra’s opener is the following week.

Theatergoers can help usher in Reno Little Theater’s 80th season on Sept. 12.

And that’s not all! Reno is abundant with art and cultural events.

Last fall, Rich Van Gogh, owner of Liberty Fine Art Gallery, convened a brain-storming meeting to discuss how to promote Reno as city with year-round art. It was then that I thought Art Spot Reno would be the solution to his concerns. I shared my idea with Larry DeVincenzi, who also attended the meeting, and he agreed. That’s when we began plans to re-launch this website.

I knew that the most important component to help promote the arts would be a comprehensive (Gregorian) calendar of events. With more than 630 listings today, I’d say we’re well on our way.

So, if you hear anyone say they’re bored, please tell them to check out the Art Spot Reno calendar and get off the couch. There is no need to hibernate for 10 months and get sucked in to watching the entire lineup of television shows. (OK, maybe Scandal.)

We believe there’s a plethora of things to do and Reno is the SPOT for year-round art.

 

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

 

Midtown Needs More Cultural Entrepreneurs

I enjoy hanging out in the Midtown District. I’ve seen tremendous revitalization in this neighborhood that I wouldn’t think of walking around in 10 years ago because it was too seedy. (And I moved to Reno from Detroit!) Now, I feel as if I could be sitting in any hip-city neighborhood when I dine in one of the cafés or restaurants.

First, there was Süp. I remember its original location with the cramped seating. When I wanted a bowl of their yummy tortilla soup (with that perfect bite-size cookie), I knew I had to arrive early before the crowd snaked to the door. Luckily, it was one of the few places that encouraged sharing your table, a normal occurrence in Europe but not really the American way. They finally outgrew that space and moved north one block. It’s got the same great menu and same friendly staff. But it has something else I especially appreciate – more wall space for local art.

When I decided to cut off my locks, someone suggested a hairdresser who owned a salon in Midtown. I love Jessy’s bubbly personality, professionalism and skill, but I also enjoy glancing around at all the local art in Crimson Hair Art Studio.

These businesses and a handful of others in Midtown that display and sell local art are the true investors in their community’s art and culture. They’re not only neighborhood revitalizers, they’re cultural entrepreneurs.

Where’s the art?

When I walk around the Midtown District, I can’t help but wonder why no one has opened an art gallery.

I recently read a policy brief published by Ann Markusen, professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the Institute’s Project on Regional and Industrial Economics in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Her research examines occupational approaches to regional development and on artists, arts organizations, cultural industries, and cultural activity as regional economic and quality-of-life stimulants. In her brief, titled “How Cities Can Nurture Cultural Entrepreneurship,” she encouraged city leaders not to copy other city’s strategies but to focus on what is distinctive about your city.

“The twenty-first century will belong to the distinctive city, and entrepreneurial artists and designers are key to that future,” Markusen wrote.

So I wonder — why aren’t more businesses in Midtown collaborating with local artists. Yes, there are lovely murals on some business walls and the Midtown District corrals artists for the Sixth Annual Midtown Art Walk, which is on Thursday. But that’s one evening in July.

And now Good Luck Macbeth Theatre Company, which is located in the heart of Midtown, announced Chad Sweet, its Producing Artistic Director, is leaving and the theater company is questioning in which direction they should go.

Markusen said “artists bring income into the city, improve the performance of area businesses and creative industries, and directly create new businesses and jobs.”  The Midtown District should be Reno’s true example of how to nurture cultural entrepreneurship. Let’s think about how to make that happen year round when we’re out roaming the streets Thursday night on the annual art walk.

 

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Words Have Power — BELIEVE

One of the reasons why I love going to Burning Man every year is to see the magnificent art that’s on display. I’m always astonished at the creativity, scale and workmanship of the hundreds of pieces that dot the Black Rock Desert. And every year I have my favorites.

Last year, one of them was the huge steel letters that spelled out the word BELIEVE. It wasn’t the first piece by Jeff Schomberg and fellow artist Laura Kimpton that had resonated with me. In 2009, they brought their first of five words, so far, to the playa. It was MOM. This was the first burn after my mother’s death and bicycling by that word, with its cutout birds, every day became part of my grieving process. And last year, after losing a job I had been in for 10 years, once again I was grieving. I know the word was created to fit perfectly with the Cargo Cult theme, but it also spoke perfectly to me. At a time when it was easy to be filled with pity and doubt, that sculpture told me to BELIEVE in myself and my capabilities. Those birds that set my mother free now were setting me free to move on to the next adventure.

 Does Reno BELIEVE?

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I saw the BELIEVE sculpture installed last month at City Plaza. I learned from Christine Fey, Reno’s resource development and cultural affairs manager, that Kate Thomas, the city’s budget director, had made it her mission to bring it to Reno, after seeing it last year on the playa. I don’t know what it was, but I think Ms. Thomas had her own visceral reaction to the sculpture.

People congregate around it, are photographing it, and talking about it.

“It has made a huge hit,” Fey said. “It’s very approachable.”

The sculpture will be dismantled Thursday, but the City of Reno has started a fundraising effort, asking for the community’s help to keep  BELIEVE in Reno. The piece cost $70,000, $10,000 a letter.

Fey thinks it’s doable and would only take a few private donors who would be willing to purchase a letter, or two.

For anyone who’s thinking about making a donation, know that Jeff is a Reno resident with a studio off Dickerson Road. Yes, Laura lives in California, but part of the dynamic design and manufacturing team lives here and builds here.

Let’s allow this word to inspire others to have an R. Kelly moment and say, “I believe I can fly.”

 

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Let the Mural Competition Begin

I was apprehensively pleased when I heard Circus Circus Reno was hosting a 24-hour Wall Mural Marathon July 13 and July 14. The casino sent a call to artists to enter the contest to paint one of seven panels located on the exterior of the main building facing Virginia Street. Anticipating an annual July event, the casino said the murals will be displayed for the year. I truly hope they’re engaging, gallery-quality works that I will be disappointed to see painted over in a year.

The selection committee  consisted of Debbi Engebritson from Circus Circus, Mike Kasum from Circus Circus, Jeff Frame a local architect, Kelsey Sweet, a local artist, and Steve Polikalas of the Regional Alliance for Downtown  (RAD). Three spots were open for local muralists and muralists from anywhere could fill the remaining spots. Unfortunately, only one out-of-towner applied, so all of this year’s candidates are local.  They are: Blanco de San Roman, Pan Pantoja, Alex Fleiner, Heather Jones, Joe C. Rock, Rex Norman and Mike Lucido. Two alternates, Nate Clark and Dave Cherry, were selected in case someone drops out.

I love driving around Reno and seeing murals painted in unexpected places. I congratulate muralists for taking art into communities. Those walls are Reno’s outdoor museum. And I do believe a painted wall reduces graffiti and vandalism. I moved to Philadelphia in 1985, a year after the city began its Mural Arts Program, which started as an effort to get rid of the city’s graffiti cataclysm. Since then, the city has produced more than 3,600 murals and is a national, and international, example of what can happen when you take art to the streets.

We need more talent, more time

Although I know most of the candidates and am impressed with the skill level of several, I was hoping a little out-of-town talent would strengthen the competition and show us some new forms of street art. I frequently peruse websites and am awed by some of the street art I see on display in cities around the world. Just imagine what it would be like to walk through exhibits at the Nevada Museum of Art if all the art was from Nevada artists.

If the walls of buildings truly are the city’s outdoor museum, then it befits us to follow the NMA’s example and be “a cultural and educational resource for everyone.”

Most “true” street artists understand what it takes to paint a mural under tight time constraints. I’m concerned for those artists who aren’t used to painting outside especially on a very tight deadline. I’m reminded of that episode of Ink Master when tattoo artists were challenged to show their lettering skills by spray painting graffiti art on a wall. It was difficult and one guy’s work was barely legible. I’m hoping (and praying) that all the murals are finished and presentable for our community museum.

Yes this is the inaugural mural competition.  Hopefully, the word will get out and more muralists will apply next year. That has to happen, if the Mural Marathon is going to become a reputable competition. In the meantime, I applaud Circus Circus Reno for coming outside those casino doors, hosting this competition and contributing to Reno’s public art. Now just imagine what downtown Reno would look like if the other casinos joined Circus Circus Reno, put money in the prize-winning kitty and found walls for muralists. I don’t think we’d still compete with Philly’s praise as the “City of Murals,” any time soon. But give it 30 years.

 

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Reno is an ART town!

My idea of a summer arts festival is like the Ann Arbor Art Fair, which really is four juried art fairs in one, held over four days in July. Like Artown, the Ann Arbor Art Fair was started to be an economic boost to the city’s downtown, which nearly died when the University of Michigan students left for summer break. The first fair, held 55 years ago, covered two blocks with the works of 132 artists. This year, it’s expected more than 1,000 artists will participate, booths will span more than 30 blocks and at least 500,000 people will attend.

Having lived in several big cities back east, I understand the concept of summer arts festivals and have attended a fair share. So when I moved to Reno in December 2002, I asked co-workers about the arts scene. They told me about Artown.

After my first Northern Nevada winter and watching the snow melt on Peavine, I was eager to check out Artown. I remember the first time I rifled through the infamous “little book,” wondering where the art was. Yes, there was top-notch dance and music (Mikhail Baryshnikov and Bradford Marsalis were performing), but how can a so-called arts festival lack visual arts?

Over the years, I continued to eagerly await the arrival of the “little book,” expecting at some point to see a juried art show scheduled for one of the weekends.

It took me a while, but I finally realized what Christine Fey, Reno’s resource development and cultural affairs manager, explained so well in the current Reno News & Review. She said: “Sometimes people don’t realize how Artown actually works. Artown is much more of a marketing arm for the arts, for what happens during the festival.”

Yes, Artown receives a chunk of money from the city and hosts fundraisers to put on concerts in July, but it’s arts organizations and local businesses that organize and hold most events advertised in that “little book. “

It also has year-round art

Many people still think that July is the only month for enjoying the arts in Reno. But most of those organizations and businesses listed in the book have arts events year round.

I’ve had folks in the arts community tell me for the longest time that one of the biggest problems was Reno didn’t have one good calendar for the arts. You could find some listings at the Reno Gazette-Journal and some at the RN&R, but it was spotty at best.

When we were planning to re-launch this Art Spot website, I knew we had to have the mother-of-all-art-calendars. It had to encompass all art genres, be easy to maneuver through and provide enough information to motivate you to get off of the couch and participate. With more than 530 Reno events listed in What’s Happening, I’d say we’re off to an excellent start.

My little Artown book for this year is on my desk. Like Christine, I will go through it and highlight what events I want to check out. Yes, everything in that book is on the Art Spot Reno website, too, but call me old school. By the end of the month, that “little book” will have dog-eared pages.

And on the “33rd day,” when Artown is all packed up for 2014, I know any Reno resident, any out-of-town visitor who wants to know what’s going on in this city – from visual art, dance, music, film, performance art, theater, literary arts, and even Art Blast, the city’s upcoming juried art show – will have a SPOT at which to find out.

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

We Look Pretty One Day

Although I’m an avid reader, I’ve not read any of David Sedaris’ books. I wasn’t really interested in reading the personal stories of a white man growing up. That just seemed so far removed from my personal experiences.

I remember last year when many of my friends were so excited to go see him speak at the Pioneer Center. Most of them seemed surprised when I told them I didn’t want to go and had never read any of his books. I think they thought my words sacrilegious.

I felt vindicated when I read Christian Lander’s blog “Stuff White People Like.” There it was, #25 – David Sedaris.

“White people universally love David Sedaris. So if they ever ask you “who are you favorite authors?” you should always reply “David Sedaris.” They will instantly launch into a story about how much they love his work, and the conversation will go from there, and you don’t have to talk about books any more.”

So I just loved it when I heard that Sedaris went on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and commented about a woman in Reno who approached him during the book signing.

“She was wearing a Count Chocula T-shirt and she was in her 60s and I said, ‘is that your good Count Chocula t-shirt? And she said, I didn’t think anyone was going to notice.’ ”

I’m now thinking, ‘damn, I wished I would have gone just to see this!’

And then I read Karen Wikander’s blog: “The Count Chocula Incident.” She confirmed the varied attire of the audience with “women wearing cute spring dresses and men wearing suits — and there were people in shorts and t-shirts, and, honestly, a lot of sweatpants.”

Now this is starting to sound like the Reno I know — where I can go to a black tie affair and someone at the table will be wearing khakis, without a tie.

Then Wikander, managing editor of Nevada Humanities’ Online Nevada Encyclopedia, nailed it in her critical analysis:

“Sedaris observed something about our city and talked about it. He didn’t exaggerate — he observed and reported. Honestly? I think we should just own it. For better or worse this is a state filled with stubborn, free-thinkers, and that informs our sense of place. In fact, if I had to anthropomorphize Nevada I would say it was a lot like John Locke from LOST — “Don’t tell me what I can or can’t do!”

But it was what she wrote next that had me admiring this so-called funny author whom I never cared to read or listen to. She wrote about how considerate he is and one of the riders in his contract is that he be allowed to spend as much time as he needs with each person he meets. This meant he was at the Pioneer Center until 1:30 in the morning signing books!

I’m impressed!

Sedaris is speaking this week at Sundance Books and Music. He’ll be speaking from the veranda of that beautiful, old white building on California Avenue.

I’m a bit disappointed I have another commitment that evening because I would have worn my “Keep Reno Awkward” T-shirt and listened to his lecture, bought one of his books, waited to get it signed and said ‘thank you, Mr. Sedaris for seeing us for who we really are.’

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

Reno: Glitter and Grit

A couple of weeks ago, a Facebook friend sent me a private message and told me she didn’t like the Art Spot Reno logo. She said the graphics lacked “art sophistication.”

My comment to her was: “…We’re about art, but not limited to art sophistication because that’s not what Reno is about. Reno’s art scene is both sophistication and the gritty, grassroots.”

We wanted a logo that was fun and welcoming. It started with the “A,” which is three strokes with a paintbrush.

Some say it resembles the anarchist “A,” others say it’s the Star Trek symbol.

I say ‘cool, whatever resonates with you is fine with me.’

Author Nina Gurianova created the term ‘aesthetics of anarchy,” or making art without rules, to define an early twentieth century period of the Russian avant-garde that she argues was a big influencer for early twentieth century modernists.

While there are many artists in Reno who are imitative, predictable and safe, some are listening to that voice within and going their own way. (And there are a few who just seem to be on another planet — that place where no one has traveled before.)

Although I might sometimes mumble an occasional ‘oy vey,’ it still gets the “A” stamp as art.

 Make art without rules.

It is my honor to bestow the Art Spot “A” to photographer Kelci McIntosh, whose unsanitized photographs of downtown Reno recently landed on the VICE magazine website.

I went to the website, read the few paragraphs she wrote, describing Reno as “a Glitter Gulch” and “the original Sin City,” and then examined the 25 photos.

She captured a realistic slice of Reno life inside the casinos, along the Truckee River, and at what could be any of the many weekly motels – the downtown neighborhood.

Two days after the photos went live, she wrote on her Facebook page “I have already started to receive hate mail!” and posted one from someone who’s lived here for 20 years and said “You didn’t tell the whole story. Yes. You could visit any town in America and focus on the their (cq) poorest citizenry.” The person then listed a litany of places and events that Kelci missed, such as the Nevada Museum of Art, Arte Italia, Reno Balloon Races, and the Rib Cook-Off.

I don’t think the complainer looked carefully at the photos or they would have noticed that Kelci did shoot Hot August Nights. Remember the backside of the obese woman directing traffic? (I think that’s my favorite.)

Kelci also captured a typical, summer day along the Reno Riverwalk. The one of young people sunbathing on the rocks, with that blonde beauty — bruised legs crossed, twirling a lock and seemingly fine with the fact she’s neglected to do those sit ups.

Bravo Kelci! You accomplished with your photographs what I’ve attempted for years through my articles and thesis in History, and that is to provide a voice to unnoticed and underserved populations.

In the Reno Gazette-Journal article, Abbi Whitaker, owner and president of The Abbi Agency, complained that Kelci took a “dig at vulnerable people.”

That’s not how I see it at all. I think she shined the light on Reno’s invisible. There’s a big difference.

One of the speeches I love to deliver when invited to speak to groups on race and ethnicity in Nevada is titled “The Not-So-Sweet Home of Nevada.” Kelci’s photos show the not-so-sweet side of Reno. It’s a side that cannot be ignored or swept under the sage brush. It’s a part of Reno and its gritty history.

So Kelci, I hope you’re not swayed by the grouches out there and become predictable and safe. I hope you continue to make art without rules. I’m looking forward to seeing other views of paradise through your lens.

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

 

Make an Impression and Know about Reno’s Arts

A friend recently hosted a dinner party while her mother was visiting Reno from Cleveland. It was a lovely evening with delicious dishes and great conversation. I always enjoy chatting with out-of state visitors. It’s a way to stay connected with what’s going on in the arts in the rest of the country. I also get to find out what they think of my city.

Diana lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Although she didn’t know about Corky & Lenny’s, which, in my opinion, is one of the best Jewish delis around, she knew what was going on in her arts community.

She told me about the 20-foot-tall outdoor chandelier that recently was positioned in Cleveland’s theater district and hangs 24 feet over a the area’s main intersection. We then talked about the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra and its music director, Franz Welser-Möst. But she was most excited to tell me about the Cleveland Museum of Art’s recent expansion and renovation, which added more than 35,000 square feet of gallery space, including Gallery One, a high-tech space that features interactions with top pieces of art. Plus, the museum is free.

Diana most definitely wasn’t a philistine and was proud to tell me all that was happening culturally in her city that sits on the southern shore of Lake Erie. But she also enjoyed coming to Reno and said she even has encouraged her friends to visit the Biggest Little City.

Really, I asked. What impresses you most about Reno? The public art, she said.

Explore and learn

I’ve been thinking about my conversation with Diana and wondering what Renoites would say about their city’s arts and culture scene.

When I asked one of the women running for mayor that question, I knew she wasn’t getting my vote when the only thing she talked about was what happens in July. One month doesn’t make a year and it definitely doesn’t make an arts city.

That’s the main reason for Art Spot Reno. We want to celebrate Reno as the spot for year-round art. And if you don’t know what’s going on, we’ve made it very easy to find out with a comprehensive calendar. Please use it and explore your city.

When you go on those summer vacations and someone asks about Reno, I want you to be as impressive as Diana was about her city.

***

Here are a few things that impress me about Reno’s arts and culture scene:

  • The city has more than 170 pieces of public art and its collection is commensurate to a city the size of Sacramento. The city’s sculpture collection includes many national names, including Michael Heizer’s “Perforated Object” in front of the Bruce R. Thompson Federal Courthouse on South Virginia. Heizer is known for the 340-ton boulder that sits on the grounds at the L.A. County Museum of Art.
  • The Nevada Museum of Art is the only accredited art museum in the state.
  • Because Reno is the gateway to Burning Man, the city has become a key location for pre-building and staging playa art. Artists and builders around the world are watching how Reno is doing this.

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator