Get off the Streets and Into the Alleys

I remember sitting in the back seat of a station wagon at 10-years-old when the car slightly slowed and my mother turned around in her seat and pointed out the window, “Look, it’s a mural.”

We were driving south on Interstate 5 and I can still see those figures floating above me on the side of the freeway. Since then, I have enjoyed murals — true public art — all over the world. Some of my favorites were on giant abandoned buildings in rural Poland, painted specifically to cater to the railways on which thousands commuted daily. Murals everywhere — Berlin, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Milwaukee and yes, Reno.

Reno is the Berlin of Nevada.

The first mural I saw here was a praying Native American on the back side of what was once Club Bass, located next door to the Reno Bike Project. The alley now has several murals with more on the way. The murals of Reno are spectacular and Art Spot Reno is incredibly excited to launch a self-guided mural tour on

The city is being slowly, but surely, covered in art and Midtown is a great place to begin your immersion. Two key names to look for are Erik Burke (OverUnder) and Joe C. Rock. They are the most prolific muralists in town, and it’s fascinating as you take the tour, to see their growth over the years. One clue to trace Burke’s advancement, the number after “OverUnder” is the age he was when the mural was painted.

This summer is going to be a full on art attack! That reminds me, Bryce Chisholm has a fantastic piece on the west side of Nevada Fine Arts. It’s one of the best walls in our city. Bryce also will be one of the seven artists competing in the 2nd annual Circus Circus Mural Marathon. This year, it is expanding into an art experience, with vendors setting up in the street and lots of interactive family fun.

Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to explore and discover the hidden gems dotted throughout our city. Use our Google map and roam on your own or sign up for a guided tour with a docent who has all the secrets.

Eric Brooks, Curator

Eric Brooks, Curator

Now to Move From Good to Great

I’m the type of person who has difficulty celebrating my birthday. Instead, it’s a time for introspection, and I ask myself lots of questions. Am I living my life to the fullest? Am I where I want to be in my life? And if not, why. They’re the kind of questions that can motivate or stifle. For me, they’ve been motivators.

As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of re-launching this website and coordinating the Art Walk, I have to ask similar questions. Is Art Spot where we want it to be? Have we successfully marketed Art Spot, continuing to reach more Reno residents? Are we doing all we can through the business to help build a community that embraces the arts? And if not, why.

When my business partner (Eric Brooks) and I started, our goal was to support businesses that support the arts. But we soon found out that we not only had to support businesses, we also had to support the artists. We designed a funky flag for businesses to hang. We built a super website that has an artist registry and a calendar, so everyone knows where to go and what to do in the arts.

In my evaluation of our first year, I’d say we’re doing a pretty good job. More businesses want local art on their walls and more artists are showing  and SELLING their work. But I’m the over achiever and a “C” grade never was acceptable. So, that means we’ve got work to do to make sure there isn’t an empty seat in theaters, visual artists have ample avenues to show their work, and more Reno residents engage in the arts scene. I truly believe in our slogan — More Art Everywhere — and want more people in our city to realize that.

I’m going to do everything I can to get an “A” in art!


Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

Geralda Miller, Art Spot Reno Curator

What’s Next?

As a journalist, I never attended a Reno City Council meeting. Over the years, I’d hear newsroom stories about the colorful characters that had become fixtures in Council chambers. But there was no reason for me to attend.

Because of Art Spot’s commitment to extend the reach of the arts culture into our community, I’ve spoken to them twice in the past five months. The first time, former councilwoman Sharon Zadra asked us to tell them how Art Spot Reno is participating in Reno’s economic redevelopment. And in February, I gave public comment in support of the Generator’s proposal to lease land near Dickerson Road from the city for $1 a year, for five years. The Generator also would have a three-year option to buy the land for $860,000 without having to go to public bid for the parcels.

I told City Council I think Reno is poised to become a culturally vibrant city and a true arts destination. I also said Reno should be a hotbed of creativity that will power innovations across economic sectors. A creative community workspace, like the Generator Phase 2, would help make this happen.

Matt Schultz, the Genny’s Executive Director, is part of a team that wants to turn an empty plot near the railroad tracks into a sculpture park with tiny artist-in-residence housing, and a 50,000 square-foot industrial arts and invention center. He wants to place a large Spanish-style ship constructed for Burning Man 2012, called Pier 2, on the property and rebuild a sculpture called Embrace that was built and burned last year at Burning Man. Pier 2 is 60 feet long, 20 feet tall at the tip of its keel, and 12 feet wide with a 60 foot main mast. He also wants to include a selection of temporary sculptures. I hope that includes Kate Raudenbush’s Dual Nature, which is in a nearby storage.

I’ve attended Burning Man for the past seven years, so I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some spectacular art on the playa. And for the past two years, I’ve given art tours. As I said in a previous blog, last year I had plenty art built by local artists to brag about, including the 62-feet-high couple that were in an embrace. The piece was impressive in scale and it filled me with pride to say it was built at the Generator, but aesthetically, it wasn’t my favorite piece on the playa. Instead of rebuilding it, I’d personally rather see what’s next.

Matt’s vision raised some concerns from neighbors, one who has been using the vacant property to access his warehouse and another who has been using some of it for parking. And then there was the owner of another local arts group who raised the “what ifs.” What if Matt’s California-based funder pulls out and these artists are left high and dry with no place else to go, Tim Conder, co-founder of Cuddleworks, posed in the Reno News & Review article.

Hmmm…am I the only one who remembers the Salvagery from a few years ago? Not that I think that would happen, but I’ve seen these resilient artists move from a space on Fourth Street to a place near Park Lane Theaters, while another group started Reno Art Works on Dickerson Road. And then came the Generator in Sparks. Because a group of artist got together to paint pianos for Artown at the Salvagery, thank you Dave Aiazzi, we now have two great artist spaces. So I’m not too concerned and spending much time asking ‘what if.’

I also think Paul Buchheit, the inventor of Gmail and the Generator’s major donor, makes an important point that our City Council and community needs to pay attention to. He told the Reno News & Review: “This is obviously a project that we’ve invested a lot of time and everything else into, so I want it to be a success,” he said. “I want to see it be a success, and to me this is the next stage in that evolution. I think that it’s an opportunity for Reno and the whole community to create something that has really never existed. … What’s most important to me is to see that community support. It has to come from the community, ultimately. I can help out in my own way, but ultimately, really, the whole thing comes from the community. It’s just a matter of giving that extra little push from the start.” If this isn’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is!

Since sitting in that four-hour city council meeting, I’ve spent time, thinking about writing this blog and conveying the real impact I think the Generator will make on our city. This isn’t just another fun warehouse in which to have parties. This is a center that will change the cityscape and how people think about our city. Most importantly, it will change how Reno thinks about Reno. Yes, it is a three-month hub for international creative building for Burning Man. But at the end of the day, it’s me, you, and our children who will be benefiting most from what the Generator has to offer as a year-round creative center.

City Council tabled the land deal, asking Matt for more information. It will be discussed again on Wednesday, March 25. I hope to see all of you who believe Reno can be an arts destination at City Council chambers. And send your councilman/woman a message, letting them know you favor using this land for the Generator. (,,,,,,

Do we want this or not? Do we want something that will truly be part of Reno’s cultural evolution or do we want to sit back and ask what if?

I say, instead of asking what if, let’s ask why not!


We heard you!

When my business partner and I re-launched Art Spot Reno last year, our objective was to have a kick-ass website that would become the hub for finding out what’s happening in the Reno arts community. I think we’ve accomplished that. But after attending the Artists Forum last week and hearing the comments, it was evident that we’ve not done a good enough job getting the word out about what we’ve got going on here.

I heard several people voice concern that the local newspaper no longer has an arts calendar. It was quite apparent to me that was imminent, which is why we’ve got a thorough and up-to-date calendar of arts events. Please use it and tell your friends about it. This should become your go-to for finding out what’s happening. I guarantee after you peruse the calendar, you’ll agree with our slogan that there’s More Art Everywhere. And contact us if we’re missing something.

We’ve got 14 different categories, but I’m beginning to think we missed one — calls to artists. There are some great opportunities coming up for artists and I want to make sure as many as possible know about them. Since deadlines are looming for these, I’m going to tell you about the ones I know. I also heard several artists voice concern at the forum that Reno’s needs more arts patrons, buying their work. Well, the flip side to that is: you’ve got to keep creating work and showing it. I’ll see you at the next Artist Forum, which will be April 16th at the Generator.

Here’s what I know:

The Gateway

The Gateway Project is commissioning 25 sculptures, made from at least one bicycle, which will be displayed around town during Artown and auctioned at a gala in October. Selected artists will get $500 and 10 percent of the final auction price to help cover costs. The deadline has been moved to WEDNESDAY, March 4. For details: visit, or


Circus Circus Reno 24-Hour Mural Marathon

Circus Circus has opened its call for artists to participate in the 24-hour Mural Marathon. Seven muralists get a wall to showcase their work. The artists will compete for prize money, $2,000 to the first place winner, $1,000 to the second place winner and $500 to the third place winner. Each artist receives a $750 stipend to pay for paint and materials. The competition begins at 10 a.m. on July 10th and ends at 10 a.m. July 11th. Submission are due no later than midnight April 16. For details, visit:



The City of Reno is seeking artists for the 4th annual Art BLAST, a juried art fair and gallery show held at McKinley Arts and Culture Center on Sept. 4 and 5. The booth fee for selected artists is $50.00, but there is no fee to apply. The deadline for entries is April 10. For details, visit:


Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

We’re on a Mission!

When we took over Art Spot Reno last year, our mission was to build a website dedicated to promoting and providing an online voice for the Reno arts community. We wanted to be the main portal for accessing information about what’s happening in Reno’s dynamic arts scene.

In order to do that, we wanted to have a thorough calendar listing of events. We’ve got that! I heard someone recently say we’re focused on visual art. Well, that’s not true. In addition to visual art, there’s music, dance, theater, film, literary, culinary, fashion, performance and Burner arts. Currently, we’ve got more than 1,150 items in the calendar. No one, whether local, visiting or planning their next trip to Reno, should say there’s nothing to do. We started the slogan More Art Everywhere for good reason!

Accessing information about Reno’s arts scene means more than offering a calendar. It means providing information about local artists. Thanks to a generous donation from The Great Western Marketplace, we’ve started an artist registry. We hope businesses looking for artists will use it as a resource. Although the list of visual artists is very long, we want this list to include actors, singers, musicians, dancers and writers. So, if you’re name isn’t listed in the registry, let us know and we’ll remedy that.

But it’s not going to stop here. We’re already working on the next offering on the website. I’m super excited, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I hope you’ll use Art Spot Reno to find out what’s going on around town and who are your local artists. And drop me a line, letting me know what you think. I appreciate feedback.

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, 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

It’s Time To Build Reno as an Arts Destination

During my years working as a consultant in Ghana, West Africa, I learned about the Adinkra symbols used by the Akan tribe. One of my favorites is Sankofa, the image of a mythical bird whose body is facing forward while its head is looking backward. It means: we must look back to move forward. Like a bird, I must keep moving ahead but, every now and then, take a look back to make sure I’m on course and ensure a strong future.

Like the Akan tribe, Sankofa also is a positive message for community. It’s especially important for Reno, now that we’ve have a new mayor and two (and soon to be a third) new City Council members. For most people I’ve talked to, voting for Hillary Schieve was a vote against the status quo and the good ol’ boy system. It was a vote for a fresh mindset to keep moving the city ahead. The Reno public is the necessary institutional knowledge that will help make sure they stay on course and ensure a strong future.

I’m sure members of various civic groups already have been busy lobbying their causes. The arts community must do the same. Art Spot Reno’s message is: “Reno is poised to be a culturally vibrant city and a true arts destination. Artists bring income into our city and can improve the performance of local businesses. As an arts destination, our city will be filled with creative types and have an innovative environment that will lure more creative companies like Tesla.” I encourage everyone who loves Reno’s arts scene to deliver a similar message to city officials and letters to the editor. Make that your 30-second pitch!

In a previous blog, I wrote about a lecture delivered by Paul Baker Prindle, who is director of Sheppard Contemporary and University Galleries. He said we need to do more to create the conditions for creativity and the Department of Art and University Galleries is poised to play an integral part in helping Reno do that. Well Paul, it’s time! Let’s get busy! Let’s build a team comprised of the area’s creative minds and help develop Reno’s creative ecosystem. (P.S…Leave a message if you want to be part of this team.)

Let’s look back to move forward, Reno, and become a creative center where there will more possibilities for growth than we can imagine!

Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

Let’s Pay Attention to Reno’s Art

I just read the CBS Sunday morning news report about how Don Bacigalupi, president, and Chad Alligood, curator, from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., traveled more than 100,000 miles to almost 1,000 studios in 44 states on the hunt for unrecognized talent for an exhibit called “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now.”

Their mission was to find undiscovered artists across the country, to showcase in a contemporary art show.

“Wherever you come from, wherever you live, there might be a great genius artist working right next door, and if you haven’t paid attention to that, it’s worth doing,” Bacigalupi said.

Well, I couldn’t agree more!

We just held this month’s First Thursday Art Walk Reno. This event keeps getting better and better. (And I’m not just saying this because I help run it.) All you had to do was start at Liberty Fine Art Gallery and go on the walk to see the impressive variety of art that’s on display in Reno’s Downtown Arts District — 40 local and regional artists in 18 galleries and alternative venues.

Among the notables are: Bryce Chisholm, one of Reno’s hardest working artists, has work hanging in Noble Pie Parlor. Will Roger Peterson, one of the founders of the Burning Man organization, has a stirring exhibit, “Provocative Portraits” at Sierra Arts Gallery. Megan Ellis’ intricate insect studies are on display at Hub Coffee Roasters on the River. And Emily Silver’s remarkable examination of Las Vegas in “Ten Walks at the Edge of Las Vegas” is at McKinley Arts and Culture Center.

Although it would be great validation, we really don’t need Bacigalupi and Alligood to come to Reno for us to know we’ve got a vibrant arts community. But I think we need to remember what Bacigalupi said, so I repeat: “…there might be a great genius artist working right next door, and if you haven’t paid attention to that, it’s worth doing.”

We need to pay better attention to what we’ve got in Reno! We at Art Spot Reno truly believe this. We’ve even changed our Art Walk slogan because of it – More Art Everywhere.

After reading the CBS report, I perused the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to learn more about the exhibit. I found out that in conjunction with the exhibit, the museum held The Summit at Crystal Bridges: Insights from a Changing America.” I wish I would have been able to attend this sold-out conference. The who’s-who list of attendees included policy-makers, educators, business people, artists, and museum professionals. Former Pres. Bill Clinton was a guest speaker. He said:

 “The ability of democratizing the arts — making it available to more people, and giving people a chance to develop their own talents — will be one of the most important strategies we can pursue to build a future we can all share and live with.”    

Don’t take my word for it. Drive downtown, put on a pair of comfortable shoes and check out all the art. There’s More Art Everywhere!!


Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator

Consider who supports the arts when voting

When the polls opened, I delayed casting my ballot because I was conflicted about some of the candidates. Now an arts advocate, I had to consider how important the arts are to the candidates. Which ones voice and show support of the arts and arts education? Who appreciates and understands the impact that arts and cultural programs have on communities and state revenues?

For some input, I asked these questions to several people affiliated with local arts organizations. I counted on the Reno Arts Consortium, an organization comprised of leaders of arts and cultural organizations and public institutions, to supply their endorsements. But no such luck. The group did, however, invite candidates to speak at its meetings and, subsequently, wound up endorsing only Lucy Flores for Lieutenant Governor because “she openly supports the work of artists and arts education.” On the mayoral race, it was split 50/50. Perhaps that wouldn’t have been the case if Hillary Schieve hadn’t cancelled her appearance at the last minute. Raymond (Pez) Pezonella, on the other hand, did meet with the consortium and shared his interest in the arts.

So what do I know for sure? Schieve, currently the at-large member on the City Council, is the liaison between the Reno Arts and Culture Commission, Sierra Arts Foundation and Artown.  Full disclosure: I’ve been on the Sierra Arts Foundation board for three months and she hasn’t attended a meeting during that time. She says she’s a huge supporter of the arts, but I have to ask myself: Then why didn’t the consortium endorse her?

The consortium also was divided on the Ward 2 City Council race, between Elisa Cafferata and Naomi Duerr, and just didn’t comment on the Ward 4 race between Paul McKenzie and Bonnie Weber.

I have to go back to what I know for sure. Duerr attended a First Thursday event at Liberty Fine Art Gallery. She even purchased a piece of art. Also, she commented on my last blog about making Reno an arts destination. She said:

“Really enjoyed your article, Geralda! Lots to mull on here. Hope everyone is ready to help the new Reno City Council take Reno to the next level, artistically speaking… ”

This comment tells me she’s open and, as someone trained in the sciences, perhaps needs more data. And she’s the only candidate who probably read my blog – she gets extra points for that!

Research, like that found in the Arts & Economic Prosperity III report by the Americans for the Arts, says if cities/communities invest in the arts, they will reap additional benefits in terms of jobs and economic growth. This seems like a no-brainer to me, but undoubtedly not all of the political candidates realize the economic value of the arts. We need men and women in office who get it, who will articulate the impact of arts on communities and who will help make Reno a vibrant creative center.

This is not the time to stay home on Election Day and not vote. In addition to securing support for the arts, we have big issues in our state and nation to consider — civil rights, women’s rights, and human rights. Your vote does matter.

 “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt 


Geralda Miller, Curator

Geralda Miller, Curator