Embrace it

Matt Schultz

PHOTO/brad bynum

The Generator is a collaborative arts space in Reno. Executive director Matt Schultz is also currently leading the construction of a new large-scale art piece called “Embrace.” For more information, visit www.therenogenerator.com

Tell me about “Embrace.”

“Embrace” is basically two 70-foot-tall people buildings. They're a pair of sculptures of a couple in an embrace. They're full sculptures about the same scale as the Statue of Liberty. … They're fully traversable. They're basically large cathedral spaces on the inside, with stairs going up to the shoulders, and spiral staircases up the neck into the head, where there's a gathering space in each head, and you can look back at people in [the other] head and say hello and think about the nature of consciousness. The project is meant to elict feelings about your relationships in the moment. It's meant to get people to consider the relationships with people they have, people from their past, maybe people that are with them. There's a chance it will be the temple at Burning Man. As a temple for Burning Man, it's meant to be a place where people can release from death. Instead of running away from it, instead of saying goodbye to people, I want people to consider the impact that people who have passed made on their lives, and the permanent change they've made in your everyday existence, mostly for the positive. We started working on it in late November, and we've been working on building infrastructure, raising money, then actually physically building it.

What’s the material?

Mostly wood. Almost exclusively wood, with a small amount of metal fasteners. It's basically like a house in that regard.

It might be the temple at Burning Man?

We really believe in our team, and we think we deserve being the temple. If we don't end up being the temple for Burning Man, the project is something that the world needs to see, so we're going to make it happen whether or not it's the temple. If it's not the temple, it's certainly going to be more challenging from a fundraising perspective. Being the temple brings a level of clout to a project that helps us in our ability to clear that $276,000 fundraising goal that we have. … We'll be taking donations all the way up 'til August of next year. If people are interested in donation funds, they can contact me directly. My email is mrschultz@gmail.com. We're a nonprofit, so all the donations are tax deductible. If people want to give a year-end donation, that would be rad.

Tell me about other projects at the Generator.

We have an artist who's building a full set of armor. We have number of artists that are working on motorcycles and scooters, modifying them and fixing them up. We have an artist that takes found scrap material and makes belt buckles. There's a great number of painters. Mallory Mishler is working on 52-card tarot deck project, which is the biggest project she's ever tackled in her life. … And we're starting to have a number of shows booked in our little gallery.

Tell me about the Ichthyosaur going to the Discovery Museum.

Ichtysaur was out at Burning Man. Jerry Snyder put his heart and soul into it, along with 20 other really amazing people, making this full-scale giant wooden Ichthyosaur. It went out to the playa and was really adored and loved, and it looks like the Discovery Museum wants to have it in their space to share with others. So he's fixing the damage it took at Burning Man, which every art project takes a heavy bit of damage when you open it up to the public and let them wail on it. So he's fixing it up and getting it ready for that install.

Anything else?

It feels like this renaissance that we've talked about is starting to happen. The Generator is here as a foundation to support all the other artists, all the other art groups. … The Generator is here, come out, make something amazing, and share it with the world.