Art appreciation

Joel Rentner

Photo By David Robert

Joel Rentner, 32, is a mortgage consultant by day and a performing-arts enthusiast by night. After living in San Francisco, then Davis, Calif., he and his wife, Linda, recently settled in Reno. Immediately upon arrival, Rentner, who’s been a Renoite once before and acted with Brüka Theatre in the early 1990s, started looking around for other people who wanted to get together and discuss the arts. He started the Bravo Arts Club, a group that meets at Tapestries Restaurant and Wine Bar, 1655 Robb Drive, on Tuesdays at 5:50 p.m. To get on the club’s mailing list, e-mail

Tell me the story of how you got the club started.

I moved to the area recently and went into the Nevada Opera office to see what the operas were for the season and mainly to see if they had any sort of opera club. And they did, but they did not have anything for younger people. They asked me if I would help them generate interest for people between the ages of 20 and 50 because, like with most opera companies, there’s a huge hole there, so I was more than happy to do it.

What’s the club been up to so far?

We started on Nov. 8, and we meet every Tuesday night, and it’s basically sort of a social club, where we just get together, drink wine, talk about the arts. As it grows, we’re getting different people and different artists coming in, which is really neat. The executive director of the opera stopped by, and he talked about his career and had great stories and great gossip from the opera. Last week, we had a professional classical guitarist, Larry Aynesmith, come down from Incline Village and drop in and talk about his career in classical guitar.

Are you focused primarily on performing arts?

Actually, no. Originally it was going to be just for the opera, but we realized there was so much crossover in people’s interests between performing arts and arts in general that we opened it up to everybody, and one of the things that we’re hoping to do in 2006 is actually have local artists show their art each week. … Most likely they’d set it up on easels or just hang it up. They have this back room that we could do that in, and the other thing—like this guitarist might come and play one week—it may not just be art, we may have some performance too. We just want to give people a reason to come out and see what’s going on.

How many people have been showing up?

Usually it’s between 8 and 15. … The interest is growing, and I have an e-mail list, and the number of responses is growing. We feel we’ll start to see a whole lot more people.

What are the clubs plans for the immediate future?

Debbie and I just coordinate having the artists come in. [That’s club co-organizer Debbie Wells. She’s also the communications director for Sierra Arts and guest services director for Nevada Opera.] We’ve sort of put off planning any events or activities yet, mainly because we wanted to build up the base a little bit. We’re beginning to see people who are regulars and find out what they’re interested in and then build the events and activities.

What are people saying they’d like to see?

One thing that I have noticed is a lot of people are unaware about how much art and performing art is going on in Reno. Many of the people are unfamiliar that we even have an opera company, where they may have heard of the Reno Philharmonic, or they know of the Nevada Museum of Art but they haven’t been there yet. … The big thing that I’ve noticed is that most of them want to surround themselves with like-minded people, but it doesn’t mean we have to go to a performing-arts event to do that. [Going] to a baseball game or to UNR football—just to hang out with like-minded people—seems to be on everyone’s mind.