From the gallery

Alisha Funkhouser

PHOTO/Brad Bynum

Artist and photographer Alisha Funkhouser is the new art and gallery director for the Holland Project, a youth-oriented, all-ages nonprofit arts organization. For more information, visit

Did you grow up here?

I did! Born and raised. I was born in Reno, and I grew up mostly in Sparks—Spanish Springs area. I went to Spanish Springs High School, the first class to go through there when they opened up. From there, I went to the [University of Nevada, Reno], and got my bachelor’s in fine arts, with an emphasis in photography and a minor in museum studies.

The art work of yours I’ve seen has been photography. Is that your primary media?

Yes, although I work in other medias. I’ve been doing a lot of embroidery. … I like to explore all mediums. It keeps me working, so I don’t get burnt out on just doing photography.

And your minor was in museum studies. What’s that?

It was mostly learning all aspects of different types of museums, from art museums to historical museums, learning the ins and outs of how they’re operated, how they’re funded, all the admin nitty gritty. It was really interesting. I always wanted, when I was younger, to work in a museum setting. I always loved going to museums as a kid. So, that’s what drew my interest.

Tell me about this job and how you get involved with it.

I’ve been training with [predecessor] Sarah Lillegard throughout all of May and part of April. I just took over. Last week was my first official week. Very fresh still! But I’ve been working at Holland as their workshop coordinator for the last year. So that led me to this position as well. I was familiar with Holland.

Tell me about upcoming exhibitions.

OK, great. We’re just heading into our summer season right now. In this space [the Holland Gallery, 140 Vesta St.], we’re going to start off next week with a short run exhibition of Damonte Ranch High School’s advanced ceramics. They do an exhibition once a year, so this is their annual show. It’s a short, one-week show. After that, we have an out-of-state artist from Los Angeles, Tanner McCardle. He does a lot of assemblage pieces, using relics and religious iconography. He’ll be in the smaller space, and then we’ll be having a local painter, Zdenek Balcarek. He’s originally from the Czech Republic and does large scale paintings. … And at [the Holland Project Micro Gallery in Bibo Coffee, 945 Record St.] next month, we’ll have In Adhesion, by two local artists, Alexx Jaramillo and Ruben Vela. They're doing a collaborative show of mixed media collage work.

Those shows were probably scheduled before you came on board. What are some shows that you want to do?

We talked a little while ago of having a show of local photographers, but having it pertain to music show photography. I think that would be a really interesting and fun way to tie in the music aspect of Holland into the gallery. We always have a lot of photographers coming in who are really interested in photographing shows.

Why do you want to work at Holland?

I think it’s such an important place. … [A]s a teenager there wasn’t a whole lot of things for me to do in this town, especially growing up in Spanish Springs when it was fairly desolate. There wasn’t a whole lot of development. So, it was really hard to find things to do, and I think that’s when kids start getting into trouble, finding other things to occupy their boredom. So I think that having a place like Holland is essential for this community, and it’s so great to see how far Holland has come in the seven years that it’s been open.