PHOTO/KRIS VAGNER: Erin Brothers, director of impact at The Generator, talking with a visitor at a spring 2022 open house.

Welcome back, RN&R print readers! Phew, it’s been a long pandemic!

The shutdown was brutal on the arts industry. But this is one resilient community. Since early 2020, a few new venues have opened, some have moved, and more are slated to open soon.

If quarantine and post-quarantine have you feeling like you’ve lost the lay of the land when it comes to where to go see art and make art, here’s the latest.

Getting crafty

2135 Dickerson Road

Back before anyone ever heard the word “COVID-19,” the folks who ran Atelier, a boutique art and craft supply shop on Truckee’s main drag, were considering expanding their popular how-to workshops into Reno. Late in 2021, a Reno branch opened under the direction of local artist Kelly Wallis, in the back room of the specialty plant shop Sierra Water Gardens on Dickerson Road. Later, when the plant shop moved to new digs, Atelier expanded into the entire storefront. Unlike the Truckee location, Atelier in Reno’s is not a supply shop. It’s entirely dedicated to workshops. Sewing, knitting, calligraphy and macrame are just a few of the sessions coming up. These aren’t the kind of workshops you need to schedule off a whole month or season for; the idea here is that you can attend one afternoon session, and leave with a new skill and a finished product.

Spiritual vortex

Savage Mystic Gallery

538 S. Virginia St

The South Virginia Street storefront that used to house Ceol Irish Pub sat empty from St. Patrick’s Day eve 2020 until July 2021, when a new tenant opened to showcase spiritual artwork of any and all denominations. Savage Mystic Gallery is named after its owner, Morgan Savage. It’s programmed by Pan Pantoja, longtime director of the Potentialist Workshop. The venue offers a rental space for events, “art fortune” readings and an eclectic range of artwork that rotates monthly.

The June show will feature metal artist Jeff Schomberg, the fabricator of the “Believe” sculpture in City Plaza, and July’s show spotlights neon artist Jeff Johnson.

(If you’re wondering where Ceol went, the beloved watering hole did eventually reopen at 410 California Ave., between Lander Street and Arlington Avenue.)

Beyond brick-and-mortar

Holland Project Billboard Gallery

PHOTO/KRIS VAGNER: One of the recent Holland Project billboards, by Julia Schwadron Marianelli.

In keeping with the concept of “virtual” venues that artgoers got used to in 2020—drive-through MFA shows, Zoom critiques and video tours of exhibitions—this new-in-2022 venue is another creative solution to the brick-and-mortar galleries we had to do without for a while.

The idea of putting art on billboards had been simmering on the back burner for years at the Holland Project, Reno’s popular youth arts hub. The shutdown made the idea of showing local artwork outside of a physical gallery space feel urgent. With a grant from the city of Reno’s “Art Belongs Here” initiative, which funds public art in more residential, less tourist-traveled neighborhoods (think “mural on a firehouse,” as opposed to “sculpture in a downtown plaza”), Holland launched its Billboard Gallery project, featuring artwork blown up to existing commercial billboards.

The images rotate monthly. The locations vary, but they tend to be in areas without a history of major public artworks, like the intersection of Keystone Avenue and Second Street, and near the Wells Avenue overpass.

Recent billboards have featured work by well-known locals such as printmaker Nathaniel Benjamin, and Julia Schwadron Marianelli, painter and South Lake Tahoe Community College art professor. But artists don’t need a mile-long resume to be considered.

“Since we can curate three artists at one time, we try to have a mix of established and also very emerging,” said Alana Berglund, Holland’s associate director. Adam Benedict, who was among the May artists, is still a student. The June artists are Ruby Barrientos, Ron Rash and Kai Morikawa.

New makerspace digs in Sparks

The Generator

2450 Oddie Blvd., Sparks

After seven years in an industrial neighborhood in Sparks and a couple of temporary locations in Reno, the Generator reopened to the public at its new location in the old Lowe’s, near Oddie and Silverado boulevards. This location is part of a larger, new development, the Oddie District, slated to eventually include retail establishments, a distillery, and an Idaho-based business incubator.

Some things at the new Generator are the same—like rental spaces for individual artists, ties to the Burning Man art community, and workshops where you can pick up skills in woodworking, welding or sewing. Some things have changed a bit—like the expanded family and K-12 programming.

Mall makeover (coming soon)

Makers Paradise + Wandering Wyld

370 Casazza Dr. (Entrance on Plumb Lane)

The shopping center at Plumb Lane and Virginia Street—formerly Shoppers Square (with the Marshall’s)—is now Reno Public Market (with the Sprouts Farmers Market), and it is still undergoing a major remodel. When the space is finished, it will include two new art venues.

One is Makers Paradise, a local branch of a Berkeley makerspace with the same name, with a current target opening date around September.

The other is Wandering Wyld, a retail shop stocked with local artwork, run by Jessie Phillips and Rachel Macintyre, proprietors of The Virgil co-working, and event space and Wyld Market, a long-running pop-up artist market series.

Erin Brothers, director of impact at The Generator, talking with a visitor at a spring 2022 open house.

Join the Conversation


  1. Big thanks to Kris for featuring two of Foothill Partners’ projects under development in the Reno/Sparks area. Our company focuses on infill revitalization of failed, aging real estate and incorporates arts and culture in every project as both an economic driver (something A&C excels at!) and an aspect of community-building. We’re local, for locals and about local sustainability. Which, actually, describes Kris!

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