See and be seen
Esoteric, a new coffee house, aims to make local art more accessible to the public
One thing our region lacks is accessible gallery space for local artists.
With the opening of the Riverside Artist Lofts, works from the resident artists will inevitably deluge the local scene. But without adequate space to show artists’ works and communicate their visions, the art could remain hidden from the public.
Terri Montague said she thinks it would be a tragedy if these artists’ works were not shown and that the Reno art community would be cheated from seeing some inspiring work.
“I’m so impressed with the art in Reno,” Montague said. “[These artists] are so talented, and now they have a place to be seen. We feed off each other.”
Two weeks ago, Montague opened an art gallery and coffee house on the corner of Sierra and First streets. Esoteric becomes the third gallery—along with Gallery Cui-ui and Gallery 211—to open along First Street in downtown Reno in the past year. Montague said she hopes to add another outlet for expression to Reno, a town she believes is on its way to becoming an artist’s destination.
Montague said that the friendly faces and beautiful scenery along the Truckee River brought her to this location. She found the location while walking along the river and peeking into the windows of closed businesses on Labor Day. The 20-year Lake Tahoe resident said she opened the gallery, in part, because her son, a glassblower, and his friends needed a place to show their work.
Since moving into the space across from the Century Riverside 12, she said business has been steadily increasing.
“We had our first lunch rush today,” Montague said. “It picks up every day. Last Friday and Saturday night we were full.”
Besides art, coffee and a light food menu, Montague said Esoteric will strive to become known for live entertainment. Local musicians are already playing there. Aaron Conkey, a former member of Three Foot Hand, performed an acoustic set last Saturday.
“We’re hoping to have all our local musicians become as famous as our artists,” Montague said.
Esoteric plans to feature acoustic music Friday evenings, jazz on Saturdays and a pianist on Sundays. Montague said she will feature artists in month-long shows, beginning the second Thursday of every month. She also said wine-tastings are something she hopes to do.
But for now, she’s just taking things as they come.
“I’ve never done this before,” Montague said. “Now this is for real. It’s brand new. I just take it one day at a time.”
When she first found the location, Montague said that the space was so big she wasn’t sure how she’d fill the place. But the reception by local artists searching for a place to exhibit their work was more than she expected.
“One by one they walked in my door and brought me art,” Montague said. “It was a beautiful thing.”
Esoteric is now laced with glasswork, paintings and photography. There’s a collection of hand-blown brandy pipes by fine glass artist Gerhard Rossbach, a master of the craft for more than 50 years. Zoltan Janvary’s oil-on-canvas piece, “Janus Faces,” exhibits how traditional formal poses can be twisted and splashed with color to create a visual maze for his audience’s meditation.
Even though Esoteric is still in its infancy, its owner and her vision seem to be well on their way to turning the space into one of the most accessible and contemporary galleries in Reno.