Though Artown, Reno's annual arts festival, is four months away, many local artists and galleries are already starting to emerge from Reno's winter hibernation. Reno is home to dozens of visual art galleries ranging from mainstream to obscure, and for visitors who can't wait until summer to get their fix, March is a fine time to explore the area's unique venues.
Sierra Arts (17 S. Virginia St., www.sierra-arts.org) at the Riverside Artist Lofts is the local, private arts agency for Northern Nevada. Sierra Arts advocates awareness, appreciation, and development of all art forms in the region. Rebuilt in 1927, the Hotel Riverside served for years as a hotel, then a hotel/casino. Today it is an affordable housing living and working space for 35 artists, with galleries, a coffee shop and a restaurant on the first floor. Check out the web site for a comprehensive calendar listing of upcoming arts and cultural events.
Hidden in a nondescript neighborhood next to a gas station, the Stremmel Gallery (1400 S. Virginia St., www.stremmelgallery.com) is among Reno's best places to view art from a variety of media. The venue will show works by landscape painter Phyllis Shafer beginning on March 12. A reception with the artist is scheduled.
The owners of Wildflower Village (4275 W. Fourth St., www.wildflowervillage.com) shaped the bed and breakfast from one of the run-down residential motels that used to line West Fourth Street. Today, it offers artist retreats and classes, studios, apartments and a coffee house, as well as a wedding chapel. Classes in pottery and watercolor are ongoing.
The Nevada Museum of Art (160 W. Liberty St., www.nevadaart.org) is Northern Nevada's premier art museum, offering classes, numerous permanent exhibits and one of the coolest buildings in the area. "Between Grass and Sky," an exhibit inspired by the oral tradition of cowboys, runs through May 17.
The historic McKinley Arts & Culture Center (925 Riverside Drive, http://tinyurl.com/cse99q) recently underwent rehabilitation. The former McKinley Park School now boasts gallery space, arts and crafts workshops, the city's Arts and Culture Division and office space for local non-profit arts organizations. An auditorium and class rooms are available for use by tenants, as well as for rental by outside cultural groups for rehearsal and performance space.
The University of Nevada Reno's Church Fine Arts Building (900 N. Virginia St., www.unr.edu/art) features numerous changing galleries such as the Sheppard Gallery, McNamara Gallery, Front Door Gallery, Exit Gallery and Investment Gallery. Exhibits range from traditional to innovative and disturbing. The standing exhibits feature works by nationally known artists, UNR faculty and UNR students. Check the Web site for information on special events such as artist receptions and live performances. Elsewhere on campus, the Black Rock Press designs broadsides and limited editions of handcrafted books.
Art Dogs and Grace (218 Vassar Street, http://artdogsreno.com) is, to put it bluntly, a head shop. But among the incense, candles and water pipes, it features the city's most eclectic collection of tapestries, hand-carved art, rave gear and artisan jewelry and clothing. It also offers an 18-and-over hookah bar and cafe.
Thirty-eight local artists show and sell their work at the Artist Co-op Gallery (627 Mill St.). Items include Nevada landscapes, pottery, photography and a variety of unique gifts.
The Fred Boyce Studio Gallery (4900 Charlotte Way, www.boyceart.com) showcases the work of its namesake, a former commercial artist who now enjoys a successful career as a painter of fine art. His landscape/wildlife watercolors and oil paintings have won awards in national art competitions and Ducks Unlimited has designated Boyce its artist of the year five times. The studio specializes in Nevada landscape and wildlife paintings, prints and books.
Jack Bacon & Company (516 S. Virginia St., www.jackbacon.com) specializes in publishing works on regional history, acquiring authentic historical autographs and artwork and high-quality, conservation-minded picture framing. The shop's autograph collection ranges from ex-presidents to Civil War heroes and some of its elaborate framing jobs are works of art onto themselves.
La Bussola (254 West First St., www.2by2creations.com/labussola) is a hip riverfront gallery featuring local artwork, handmade furniture, hand-painted antique furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics and more. The shop has a distinct "do-it-yourself" streak and many of the items sold there are functional -- quirky appliances, recycled kitchen decor, strange mailboxes, etc.
Described by its owner as "a slice of Santa Fe, old town Scottsdale (Arizona) and Jackson Hole (Wyoming)," The Lucky Star (267 Vassar St., www.LuckyStarGallery.com) is an Americana shop representing potters, silversmiths, horsehair braiders and leather craftsmen. The gallery offers handmade jewelry, handbags, furnishings, paintings and also cowboy, Mexican and Indian collectibles. It also handles vintage clothes, art prints and riding gear.
Located inside City Hall, the Metro Art Gallery (1 E. First St., www.cityofreno.com/Index.aspx?page=417) rotates through six diverse shows each year. Sponsored by local arts groups including Sierra Arts, admission is free. Check the Web site for a list of pieces currently on display.
Truckee Meadows Community College (7000 Dandini Blvd., www.tmcc.edu/vparts/artgalleries) offers numerous art venues including the main gallery, TMCC Photo/Print Gallery and Red Mountain Gallery. Artists' receptions are held on the first or second Tuesday of the month in September, October November, December, February, March, April and May, 1 to 4 p.m., at the art galleries. The receptions are free and open to the public. Review the Web site for a schedule.
Article written by Matt Farley. Farley is a Nevada native who has worked for the Reno Gazette-Journal and Nevada Magazine and been syndicated by The Associated Press, Gannett News Service and the Las Vegas Review Journal.