Is Nevada a good place to be an artist?
(Asked of 11 Nevada Triennial artists)
Nevada is a good place to be an artist because you’re so close to nothing and everything at the same time. Geographically, it’s pretty convenient for just being self-reflective. Or trying to generate response from a larger community. … But it doesn’t seem like it’s that well-educated, as far as arts are concerned. The general public isn’t that well educated on arts. But, then again, I’m not really sure being well-educated helps out. Sometimes it seems like it gets in the way of trying to just produce something really good and raw and pure. But, [Reno is] a good location. It’s close to … the desert. And, being close to the Bay Area, we have a lot of eccentric people coming to town with eccentric ideas flowing in, which is nice.
I recently came from Vegas, and I thought it was great being an artist in Vegas because there was a lot of opportunity, and it was a lot easier to get press on yourself because the pool of artists isn’t as competitive as it would be maybe in California. And, where I came from before, that was Wyoming, there was absolutely no opportunity. When I came to Las Vegas, there seemed to be a lot of opportunity as an artist to do various things, and I assumed that would carry over to Reno. All in all, I think it’s a positive place. Also, the connections to California; it’s really easy to access.
It seems like, in places like L.A., there tends to be this idea about what’s hip and what’s going on. There’s this force, and that’s what gets shown. … Here, I feel sort of free of the tastemakers. So I think it is a freer place to be an artist.
Nevada is growing as an art community, so, in that sense, yes, it is sort of a good place to be contributing to the growth of Nevada. I think that the MFA program at UNR is going to really contribute to Northern Nevada as an arts community. [In June, the Board of Regents approved the addition of a Master of Fine Arts degree program to the University of Nevada, Reno’s curriculum. The program’s projected start date is fall 2006.]
Nevada is a good place for the artists who are in it. It’s a situation that’s what you make of it. It’s a different perspective [than other places have], how Reno is and operates in terms of relativity to everything else. It’s good. It’s a different lifestyle. It’s a live-fast-die-young lifestyle.
Yes. … The land is deceivingly fertile. The people are relaxed and fun to be around. There’s plenty of available room. Nevada is still young and wild, and there’s never a dull moment.
Well, yes. It seems like there’s a lot of support for art here, as opposed to other places. Here in Vegas, there’s a lot of interest in art, and there are [arts] organizations, and people come out and look at art. It seems like it’s the same for you guys up in Reno, with the museum. There’s a lot of support for the arts. I came from Florida, where there’s hardly any at all.
I came here originally for a job and [because] the rent was cheap. I was in the Bay Area. … As far as an art scene, I think it’s been great. There are a lot of people that have been here for decades, and they have been welcoming to younger artists coming up. I like to look for dialogues between artists, and I find them between both established/established and established/emerging artists. … As far as opportunities for artists, I am torn. With the Triennial, the NMA has shown interest in local artists, which is great. Outside of that, there are opportunities; it seems every one will put up art if you offer it—Rose’s [Deli], Satellite [Cocktail Lounge]—but selling seems reserved to the Stremmels, at least for the high-dollar stuff. … In my experience over seven years, I have felt supported here. I have been compelled to stay and have been inspired by this place. … I’ve had a positive experience.
I think now, since the museum has come in and all the other arts venues are developing, it’s a great place. [It wasn’t] when we first came here. [Hylin and her family moved to the area from Hawaii in 1988.] I think there are so many things going on now in all forms of art. It’s great.
Yes and no, especially Northern Nevada, because it’s a good environment to be in to be making art, especially pottery, I think. And there’s definitely no lack of landscape or inspiration. At the same time—and this is improving really fast—it’s difficult to sell your work. There’s not much of a market for what you make. That makes it hard to be an artist professionally and to make a living off it. That’s a little bit tricky. But this city is definitely stepping up and doing everything it can, so with a little time, I think it’ll be an even better place.