NEVADA IS full of surprises, not least of them the hard-working, creative folks who make a living as nationally known artists. Artists have been quietly working in the far-flung corners and crevices of the state for decades, entranced by the sweet, sage-scented solitude, the wide-open skies, and the next-to-nothing housing prices in ranching areas or nearly abandoned 19th-century mining towns.
For some of these artists, Reno is the closest urban area, and for the most part, exhibit opportunities for their work here in town is occasional at best. But the pots, pictures and productions they create are worth a trip and worth keeping on your radar. RN&R checked in with a few rural go-getters to get the scoop on their latest happenings and upcoming events.
Deon and Trish Reynolds live in the historic mining town of Eureka, ailing but charming, where they run a small art gallery. The latest news about the gallery, as Deon tells it, is, “No tourists to speak of this year.”
News of his and Trish’s art goings-on, however, is plentiful: “We are busier than ever with shows and events all across the USA. I have shown my plastic camera photography at portfolio reviews in Santa Monica, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Houston, Tex., to groups of international gallery owners, museum curators and private collectors. In December, we head to New Orleans to attend PhotoNola, yet another review. The feedback is overwhelmingly favorable. Positive things are going in the right direction. Life is good.”
As of two weeks ago, news of his exhibit at Sierra Arts’ satellite gallery at the University of Phoenix in South Reno, which has been up since May, had not yet reached Reynolds. He was surprised to hear about it. And you’d never know from the show’s inconspicuous placement in a hallway across from some larger, more prominently displayed, hotel-art-looking pastel paintings that he’s among a handful of rural and small-town Nevadan artists whose work makes waves nationally or even internationally. Reynolds’ biggest recent news, in fact, is that he won a Black and White Spider Award this year from the Tate Gallery in London for his shot of cowboys at work on a ranch.
To find the Reynolds and their counterparts all over the state, you have to do your homework. There’s no central small-town Nevada mailing list, and the level of infrastructure each artists or organization maintain varies from studios that are open only by appointment to arts and writing retreats that announce themselves quietly to a full-fledged performing arts center. A few hours from Reno in just about any direction, there’s art worth trekking off the beaten path for. Here’s a sampler of places to visit and upcoming events.
Since the Tuscarora Pottery School started offering courses in 1966, this almost-ghost-town with just over a dozen year-round residents, has been a haven for potters, painters, jewelers, and self-sufficient travelers. The best time to get to know this microcosmic art scene and get filled in on summer retreat offerings for writers and artists is during the biannual open studios weekend. There’s one planned for spring 2013, but a date hasn’t been set. Keep an eye out in the Elko Daily Free Press in springtime for details.
For information about the pottery school, visit www.tuscarorapottery.com.
Good as Goldfield
“If we bury two more cars, we’ll have 40,” Chad Sorg announces proudly. The former Renoite is now president of the chamber of commerce in Goldfield, another former mining boomtown. He’s talking about the car forest, an art installation where he’s been helping long-time Goldfielder Mark Rippee plant cars nose-down in the ground.
The site, officially known as the International Car Forest of the Last Church, will be the grounds for Sorg’s End of the World Party, a homegrown music and art festival scheduled to coincide with the town’s annual Goldfield Days celebration. The lineup is still being finagled. The car forest is ungated and open to visitors year-round. Tickets to the End of the World Party, Aug. 18-19, are $25, which includes camping. To purchase, call the Goldfield Gift Shop, (775) 485-3700.
Audobon takes the highway
If you missed the compelling print exhibit John James Audobon and the Birds of America at the Nevada Museum of Art in 2010-11, catch it on your next road trip. It’s at the Humboldt County Library in Winnemucca until Aug. 22. Then it travels to Western Folklife Center in Elko Sept. 22-Nov. 3, and to the East Ely Railroad Museum in Ely Nov. 17-Jan. 6. For information, visit www.nevadaart.org.
Follow me to Fallon
Kirk Robertson, director of this small town’s urban-feeling arts center, showcasing up-and-coming and big-name performing artists, says, “A question we get asked frequently is, ‘Why are these things happening in Fallon?’ Our answer is, ‘Why not?’ ’Tis important to have access to first-rate arts experiences, right here.” Robertson and his wife, Valerie Serpa, travel to New York annually to hand-pick their favorite acts from the National Performing Arts Festival and invite several of them to perform in Fallon.
Oats Park Art Center’s current exhibit, “Along the Open Road: Vintage Gas Pumps from the Dwight & Teresa Hunter Collection, Photographs from the Library of Congress and Churchill County Museum” and a free outdoor concert Aug. 18 featuring the 12-piece country band Johnny Dilks and the Highway Kind, are just an hour and a half drive from Reno, close enough to make it home by bedtime. For information, call (775) 423-1440 or visit www.churchillarts.org.
“All of our galleries are open here at the X,” reports John Bogard, founder of the comfortably rustic enclave he and his wife, Rebecca, oversee in Gerlach. At Planet X, they make, show and sell pottery; teach workshops; and host a changing roster of exhibits. The galleries are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. most days, but Bogard recommends calling ahead to confirm.
For information about Planet X Pottery, call (775) 557-2500 or visit planetxpottery.com.
The loneliest art scene
“The loneliest road is just that this year,” says Deon Reynolds, referring to the historically lightly traveled Highway 50 in Eureka, where his gallery is. A few artists make their homes in the sleepy town, and the historic Eureka Opera House stages the occasional musical act or cowboy poetry recitation, but Reynolds has seen the usual trickle of tourists slowed to a drought lately. Eureka Gallery, whose sign says simply “Gallery,” is open by appointment, and the Reynolds enthusiastically welcome calls from anyone who’d like to schedule a visit to see their landscape photos, Trish’s jewelry, and work by other artists.
The Eureka Gallery is at 41 North Main St., Eureka. To arrange a visit, call (775) 237-5303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For an event calendar and additional information about Eureka Opera House, located at 31 S. Main St., visit www.co.eureka.nv.us/opera/opera01.htm or call (775) 237-6006.