Co-optical nerve

Artists Co-op of Reno

Cheryln Bennett and Mahree Roberts of the Artists Co-op of Reno pose in front of a display of Bennett’s work in ACR’s gallery.

Cheryln Bennett and Mahree Roberts of the Artists Co-op of Reno pose in front of a display of Bennett’s work in ACR’s gallery.

Photo By brad bynum

The Artists Co-op of Reno gallery is located at 627 Mill St. For more information, visit

If I may be so bold as to suggest a new year’s resolution: Make something. Create a painting, a sculpture, a cabinet, a dog kennel, whatever. No time like the new year to revive your artistic interests. Barring that, buy something made by a local artist. Get that money moving around here in town.

Either way, whether you want to buy an original artwork or pick up some frames, art supplies or technique books, you might cruise by the Artists Co-op of Reno (RCR) gallery on Mill Street near Wells Avenue. The co-op is having an art and supplies sale for the month of January. The selection isn’t astounding, but the sale provides a good excuse to visit the gallery and do some post-holiday shopping. If nothing else, perhaps it will provide some sort of inspiration.

The gallery manager, Mahree Roberts, is a charter member of the co-op, which was founded in 1966. She says ACR is the oldest continuously operating co-op in Nevada, and it’s still in its original location. Cooperation is all the rage among artists nowadays, but Roberts and her cohorts were doing it nearly 45 years ago.

“We were pioneers,” she says. “Some of us are as old as pioneers.”

The gallery features artwork displays by 20 members of the co-op, as well as a feature gallery with rotating monthly exhibitions. The January art and supplies sale is hosted in the feature gallery. In February, that gallery will feature work by “Nevada Heritage” artists, mostly retired co-op members, many of whom are deceased. The gallery currently has one wall dedicated to heritage artists.

“The heritage wall presents a new generation with past Nevadan artists and keeps the work here in Nevada,” says Cheryln Bennett, an artist and the ACR president.

The artworks throughout the gallery are primarily representational—landscapes, still lifes and wildlife portraits—but there’s a full range of media, including watercolors, oils, ceramics and photography. There are meticulous animal pen-and-ink drawings by Christel Nelder, landscape and cityscape photographs by Jack Hursh, and oil paintings of historic Nevada buildings by Erik Holland.

Bennett stresses that all the artworks are originals, not prints, and everything is created by a local artist.

“People are realizing how important it is to buy local,” she says.

“We’re a friendly, warm and fuzzy gallery,” says Roberts. “We have a good time here.” She says the gallery appeals to some people who might find museums and traditional art galleries overly formal. There’s a dedicated core who shop there regularly, but new customers come in almost daily.

Roberts says that she’s a “painter emeritus,” who doesn’t make new work very often anymore, but she does have one painting on display on the gallery’s heritage wall. It’s a sagebrush landscape, with colorful mountains in the background, and a sky of sprawling clouds overhead. It’s unmistakably Nevadan.