Thursday, April 21, 2011

Looking for Art in Reno

My husband and I attended the Jazz Fest in Reno, Nevada again this year. We arrived a day early so I decided to spend the day seeing how visual and performing art is promoted in Reno. I always collect art brochures from the cities I visit, so I first wanted to go to the Reno tourism information center. I never found it; the following describes my attempt.
1. Resident: I asked Bob, our host for the Jazz Fest who has lived in Reno for at least 30 years, where I could find information about art in Reno. He had no idea where a tourism office was located but suggested we go to the Nevada Museum of Art. His girlfriend suggested the Stremmel Gallery.
2. Internet: I cannot remember exactly what search terms I used with Google but I was lead to believe that the Eldorado Hotel Casino Convention Center, located downtown, would have information for tourists. It didn’t. My husband and I went to the concierge desks at three downtown hotels/casinos before we found several brochures on dining and outdoor recreation and a helpful man who suggested we go to Sierra Arts .
3. Sierra Arts: A flyer for Sierra Arts states that “…it is proud to be the region’s only arts organization with an emphasis on teaching, nurturing and supporting the arts in our community. It provides education opportunities for artists of all ages, as well as development and training, financial support and promotional and marketing assistance.” Did it have any information about the arts groups in Reno? The volunteer who was at the front desk said it was his first day on the job so he went into another room to ask someone with more experience. The answer was NO. He suggested I go to the Chamber of Commerce located at City Hall.
4. City Hall: City Hall was very nice with an art gallery (closed) and some very nice brochures, including The Reno City Hall Art Collection, Reno Public Art and Historic Reno Walking Tours. The woman at the desk didn’t know where I could find additional information about art; the Chamber of Commerce had moved even though a sign posted outside indicated they were on the 16th floor.
5. Chamber of Commerce: Lots of brochures; none having to do with art. The woman at the desk was somewhat mystified by my request. She copied the arts and culture pages from a chamber of commerce membership book. This information listed some performing arts groups and activities but indicated that I should contact Sierra Arts for a listing of art galleries. I found the McKinley Arts & Culture Center listed under Arts Organizations.
6. McKinley Arts & Culture Center: This Center is in a beautiful historic building located along the Truckee River. It has gallery space, arts and crafts workshop, the city of Reno Arts and Culture Division and rental office space for local non-profit arts organizations–music, theatre, art and dance groups. The reception area contained a few arts brochures. A helpful woman who worked for the Arts and Culture Division said there was no master list of arts groups but that I should check with Sierra Arts for a list of art galleries. She gave me a Truckee River Arts District Map (located in downtown Reno) that had been produced several years back but now with budget cuts….
7. Nevada Museum of Art and the Stremmel Gallery: We did visit these galleries briefly on subsequent days (and while feasting on gourmet toasted cheese sandwiches because April is Toasted Cheese Sandwich Month). The Museum of Art has wonderful art, gift store and cafe but no brochures for other arts organizations. The same for the Stremmel Gallery-wonderful art but no brochures. This Gallery, operating since 1969, was featuring trompe l'oeil painting by Bill Braun, a Seattle artist. The man at the desk said that Reno galleries did not cooperate in any regular activities (i.e., First Thursday) because they were located too far away from each other and there was no use publishing a list of galleries because most galleries opened and closed quickly.

I left Reno feeling good about Longview. We do have lots of arts organizations brochures that are displayed at places tourists visit as well as on our tourism website. In addition, we have a local internet calendar and The Daily News (far superior to the Reno daily newspaper) where our arts activities are listed.

P.S. I checked again for a Reno tourism center after I returned and must have used better search words because I quickly found the Reno/Tahoe visitor’s site. The website has a link to arts and culture and list three art centers, 17 art galleries, five performing arts groups, and two theatre groups. And I found out where the visitor’s center is; the place to “enhance your visitor experience by stopping by…for destination brochures, area information, day trip and tour ideas”. Silly me, I thought it would be downtown but it is 3-4 miles from downtown. I don’t feel too bad I couldn’t find it because Reno residents don’t know where it is either.

Another friend in Reno sent me information about Downtown Reno , a website that covers art in downtown, and Artown , a series of events that “brings the arts to Reno each July.” I guess I chose the wrong month to find art in Reno. But I did make $4 playing the penny slots.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whew! Your persevered a lot longer than I would have. Glad you had a good time! Lois Beck