Sierra Arts finally moves into Riverside

Sierra Arts spokeswoman Loni Harris minced no words when asked how the organization’s move into new office and gallery space was going.

“We’re in moving hell,” she said.

But it’s a nice hell, Harris clarified, as this move into the Riverside Artists Lofts has been a long time coming.

The folks at Sierra Arts, who were previously located on Flint Street, are finishing a four-year process that started in 1997, when Sierra Arts, the city of Reno and Minnesota-based Artspace Projects teamed up to save the historic Riverside Hotel on Virginia Street and convert it into an artists’ community. One year ago, residents—who, according to the rules, are working artists who only make so much money per year—started moving into the refurbished building. However, the lower floors stayed empty, except for the hustle and bustle of construction workers.

But that’s not the case anymore, as the Sierra Arts employees are now the ones hustling and bustling, getting ready for their Oct. 12 grand opening. The place will be open from noon to 9 p.m. that day, with tours every two hours starting at 2 p.m. At noon, jazz vocalist Jakki Ford—herself a resident of the Riverside—and her Jakki Ford Trio will kick off the Concerts in the Gallery series. The official ribbon-cutting will take place during the opening reception at 6 p.m., featuring a 1927 Rolls Royce on loan from the National Automobile Museum as well as entertainment, champagne and hors d’ oeuvres.

The Sierra Arts Gallery will also open that day with a reception at 5 p.m. Its first exhibit, Odd Images of the Self, features self-portraits from several California artists. It will be on display through Nov. 9 during Sierra Arts’ business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

As for the Sierra Arts employees, Harris said it will take a good week for them to get settled in their new offices. But she promised this would not hinder Friday’s festivities.

"We won’t have the public see the clutter," she said with a chuckle.