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Reno is the SPOT for year-round art

It’s time to bid farewell to another July. I don’t have much time to sit back and relax because I’ve got more arts-related fun things to do. But I want to take a few minutes to reflect on the past 31 days that were called Artown.

I’m old school. Early in July, my good friend Toni Harris and I sat at her dining room table and marked in our Little Books all the events we wanted to check out. I was very happy to see, thanks to the Sierra Arts Foundation, a celebration of local artists of all genres on opening night. That has been one of the big voids in this month-long festival. Artown’s main goal is “to encourage local artist participation and highlight the best performers in northern Nevada” and they finally did that.

I made the mistake of forgetting to use insect repellent that first week and had the mosquito bites to show for it. But it was a great week to get a cultural infusion with the African Children’s Choir and the South African All Stars, featuring Bakithi Kumalo. Both were delightful concerts. My only disappointment was the dearth of diversity in the audience. It has me pondering: what is it going to take to get more people from racial and ethnic groups in Reno to participate in the arts? Arts and culture should be an important avenue for bridging racial strife. I’m getting tired of sitting in an audience for a culturally rich evening of music or dance with a preponderance of white faces over the age of 60. (It’s time to come up with a hashtag similar to #oscarssowhite. But I digress.)  

I love Pops on the River – the fundraiser at Wingfield Park for the Reno Philharmonic where the orchestra performs a Broadway-inspired concert and people decorate tables and wear costumes. I’ve been attending for quite a few years now, humming along to my favorite show tunes while wearing a fun outfit. But I’m going to call it like it is a confined crawl for elitist. So, if any of you reading this are against the themed downtown crawls, think about how much you love spending $450 or more for a table to decorate and planning your group’s costumes to parade around in and dance in a conga line.

We (Art Spot Reno) helped the businesses on Dickerson Road put on another successful open house called Discover Dickerson. Although it was a scorcher, people roamed the industrial arts district, familiarizing themselves with all that’s offered – ceramics, blacksmithing, jewelry making, bookselling, beer brewing, movie watching, auto repairing, global and urban dancing, gardening, and dining.

Of course I also had to attend the theatrical productions at the Reno Little Theater, Good Luck Macbeth and Brüka Theatre – all enjoyable performances.

While Artown is strong in performing arts, especially music, it’s still lacking in showcasing fine visual art. Thanks goodness for the annual Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, which was held at the Peppermill. I was especially drawn to James Bama’s realistic cowboy paintings and Fritz Scholder’s sincere, contemporary paintings of Native Americans. Costing approximately $30,000 each, none of these magnificent works came home with me. But I have the catalog.  What a tribute it is to Reno to have this auction that’s considered the largest in the field of classic Western and American art. With around 750 bidders and 95 percent of the 313 pieces selling, sales exceeded $18 million.

Well, those were the highlights of my July. Yes, it was busy, but I can be just as busy enjoying the arts in Reno any other month of the year, and so can you. For good reason, our motto is “Reno is the SPOT for year-round art.”  Make it yours, too.

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Let’s Walk the Walk

How time flies.

Last February, my business partner and I held our first of three dry runs for Art Walk Reno before our official launch in May. Eric Brooks and I were surprised how many people ventured out in the cold and said they had a good time. We knew we were on to something that would be beneficial for local artists and the downtown businesses that wanted to show art.

As long as I’ve lived here, I’ve always liked the idea of first Thursdays at the Nevada Museum of Art, but work obligations kept me from frequenting that well-attended event. I would drive by close to the 7 p.m. closing and regret not attending. For others, as myself, who weren’t able to escape their desks in time, but wanted to enjoy an evening downtown experiencing art, we thought an art walk through the Arts District would be the perfect extension to that cornerstone event. It worked.

Starting our event at Liberty Fine Art Gallery allows people to check out what’s happening at the museum and then walk around downtown, grab a bite and see more art. Let’s face it. Who’s ready to go home at 7 p.m.?

The venues showing art stretch a mile, from Sierra Arts Gallery and Metro Gallery in City Hall on Virginia Street to the east and McKinley Arts and Culture Center at Vine Street and Riverside Drive to the west. If you check out all 17 stops on the art walk, not only will you see good local art, you’ll get the extra benefit of a good workout that satisfies many of your New Year’s resolutions.

For that reason, and the fact that February is American Heart Month , we’ve partnered with Saint Mary’s Center for Health and Fitness for Walk for Art and Your Heart! challenge. The first 50 people who want to participate in the Walk for Art and Your Heart! challenge will receive a free pedometer. And if you already own a pedometer or use a Fitbit, that’s perfect, you, too, can participate in the challenge. Check in at Liberty Fine Art Gallery and we’ll log you in.

Why do this? Oh let me count the reasons! You get to see great art. You’ll get a great workout in and not feel guilty when you eat that slice of pizza at Noble Pie Parlor at the end of the walk. You get to be just a little bit competitive and try to walk the most steps and win great prizes. Now that I think more about this, Eric and I will walk the route beforehand and post the number of steps we walked on Facebook, so you have a number to beat. How’s that? You also get to challenge yourself and keep on walking throughout the month and try to log the most steps walked for even more prizes.

And for the rest of you who aren’t reward driven, I think the most important reason to participate is for a healthy heart. I will walk in memory of my mother, who died six years ago from heart disease.

I’m grateful to Saint Mary’s Center for Health and Fitness for working with us on this. What a great way to start our second year of fun strolls in downtown Reno! We’re setting the bar higher for ourselves. It’s a good thing we’re going to be in great shape to keep leaping!

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

 

 

Enjoy the holidays and give local art

It’s the season to be jolly.

With all the last-minute shopping and holiday gatherings to go to, who has time to sit down and read a long blog? I barely have time to read my emails! I won’t make this a habit, but I’m going to keep this one short.

It’s that time of the year when we express our gratitude to those who are meaningful in our lives. Someone on Facebook recently asked where they should go to buy something, preferable local. I say it’s a wonderful opportunity to give local art, and I mean all genres. Here are a few of my suggestions.

A painting, photograph, piece of sculpture are wonderful ways to enhance any room and allow someone to enjoy their surroundings. We’re lucky that the number of art galleries and alternative gallery spaces in Reno is growing. But don’t stop there. Handmade ceramics and pottery are pieces you know someone got their hands very dirty making and put a lot of love into that form. I encourage you to visit our Art Spot members to see a variety of these artistic styles.

This city has several fine theater companies. I saw exceptional performances this year at Reno Little Theater, Bruka, Good Luck Macbeth, and Nevada Repertory Company. Why not introduce someone to the stage with the gift of individual  or season tickets? The same is true for our music scene. Thanks in particular to the university and casinos, we’re also fortunate to have a pool of very talented musicians here. So give tickets to hear the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, the Reno Chamber Orchestra or Reno Jazz Orchestra.

I’ve been thinking about what gift Art Spot Reno can give. Our gift will continue to be to provide information, collaboration and inspiration about the Reno arts scene. Not only with this blog, but our calendar will continue to be the most comprehensive site for what’s happening in Reno. That’s a promise! The true joy of this holiday season is the opportunity to say thank you. I’m filled with gratitude for those in the community who are supporting us. I’m also very grateful for what we at Art Spot Reno have been allowed to share with you.

Happy Holidays!!

 

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator