Open season

Reno Open Studios

Melinda Plumbridge at work in her home studio, which will be open during Reno Open Studios.

Melinda Plumbridge at work in her home studio, which will be open during Reno Open Studios.

Photo By lauren randolph

Art can be compelling, frustrating, inspiring and confusing. Perhaps you have looked at a sculpture or a photograph and wondered what the heck the artist was thinking when they created the piece. Most of the time when we see art we don’t have the opportunity to meet the makers and ask them questions. Now is your chance to ask your questions and get some satisfaction. Reno Open Studios is bringing you the fortuitous circumstances to meet local artists, talk with them about their work, and witness their process.

Jann Selleck, one of the artists participating in Reno Open Studios, came up with the idea. The title of the event explains it pretty well: Artists from Reno—21 to be exact—will open their studios to the public for the weekend of Sept. 12-13. The event evolved out of another open studio event in Reno, Artouring. Most of the artists participating in Reno Open Studios were part of Artouring. However, with Artouring, you had to coordinate your visit with a guide and pay to participate. Reno Open Studios is self-guided, self-paced and totally free.

“We wanted a true open studio event where people can look at a list of artists and choose who they want to see,” says Melinda Plumbridge, a painter participating in the event. “People can stay as long as they want instead of being on a schedule with a group.”

Plumbridge has a background in sales and marketing and has participated in the Tahoe version of this event for the last six years. She thinks that the Reno event will be even more successful.

“This is the first event of this kind ever in Reno. We feel like it will become one of Reno’s signature events,” says Plumbridge.

The group chose to schedule their event on the same weekend as the Great Reno Balloon Race because, after 8 or 9 a.m., the Balloon Race events are over. If you aren’t a morning person or you want something else to do later in the day, you can head over to the studios. The event will be taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The group has made maps available online (printable PDFs) and at various locations around town to make it easy to find the artists’ studios. Sierra Arts is sponsoring the event and has maps and brochures with a complete list of the artists and descriptions of their work available at their gallery, at 17 S. Virginia St., No. 120.

The group of artists participating is varied and represents a broad array of media, including glass, gourds, wood, watercolor, oils, printmaking, photography, fiber and ceramics. All of the artists will have demo pieces during the event—they will be working in their studios. Selleck, who considers herself primarily a painter and sculptor, will be giving lessons in papermaking.

“The idea is to educate people on our process, where our ideas come from,” Plumbridge explains. “We are going to show them how we create our art—and it’s free! We have an incredibly accomplished group of artists—some are national award winners.”

Other participating artists include Fred Boyce, Erik Holland, Tia Flores, Stephanie Hogen and Dale Pappas. For a complete list, visit

Reno Open Studios is committed to becoming a long-term event.

“Our goal this year was 20 artists and we surpassed that by one,” says Plumbridge. “Next year we’ll probably go to 35 artists.”

The stories behind how an artwork is created—and what inspired the artist—can be enlightening and build a different kind of connection to the work. This is an opportunity to buy art directly from an artist and get the story behind the process while enjoying a day experiencing something out of the ordinary.