The Teen Issue 2018

Welcome to RN&R’s annual showcase of teen art

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Every year, we dedicate an issue of the paper to showcasing the artwork of local teens. It’s a chance for to get a glimpse of works by up-and-coming local talent. This year, the submissions include a range of media—from photography to colored pencil drawings. The artwork on the cover is by Sierra Espinoza, a sophomore at North Valleys High School. We’ve been publishing our annual Teen Issue for well over a decade now.

Over the years, RN&R’s staff has also watched and reported on the growth of the local youth art scene. Last year, we reported on the 10th anniversary of the Holland Project, Reno’s youth-oriented non-profit arts organization (“For all ages,” feature story, Feb. 2, 2017). This year, marks the 10th anniversary of the organization’s annual Teen Art Night—an event featuring live music, food and hands-on stations for creating art.

We sat down with Holland Project’s art and gallery director, Alisha Funkhouser, and its music director, Brigdon Markward, to talk about the history of Teen Art Night and what’s on deck for this year’s event, which takes place on April 28:

Jeri Chadwell (JC): What a really exciting time, I think, to have the opportunity to work with young people. The youth movement across the country and here locally has been impressive. It’s been exciting to see that echoed in some of the art we’ve received for this year’s Teen Issue. You must be experiencing that, too, right?

Alisha Funkhouser (AF) Absolutely. I’d say we’ve seen a lot of that, too—like in the last Young Blood show we did and even in the Scholastic show recently. We see them voicing their opinions in that way and that coming through in their art.

JC: So you guys have seen politics and activism emerging in art too?

AF: Especially in the last year, I’d say—Young Blood and the Scholastic Awards. I don’t know about the music side of things as much. Brigdon could speak to that.

Brigdon Markward (BM): Oh, yeah, I’d say so—especially with a lot of younger punk bands and a lot of younger indie bands. It’s a lot of expression of political frustration and whatnot, in kind of weirder ways. It’s been really interesting to see.

JC: Right on. So, I know that Holland put on an event with the Nevada Museum of Art back in 2008 called Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang that seemed to be geared toward getting young people in the museum. Michael Sarich’s work was on exhibit. And they brought in the Juvinals. Is Teen Art Night an evolution of this earlier event?

AF: Yeah, I think that was kind of the very first iteration of Teen Art Night. It was a little bit more all-ages based at that point. And the first couple of them were kind of around Valentine’s Day as well. So it kind of had a bit of that theme going on. But, yeah, it kind of evolved over the years into being more teen driven and teen specific.

JC: I remember Sarich’s work that was on display in 2008. It was graphic—dark. It was kind of hard for me to digest as a 23-year-old college senior. I think it might have been beneficial to be exposed to art that made me uncomfortable like that at a younger age, and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang was geared toward more of a youth audience.

AF: And we try to, like, work with the museum and some of the exhibits they have up during the time we have Teen Art Night going on. The teens have access to all of the exhibits for that night. So if we can find ways to wrap those into some of our themes for booths or some of what’s happening, we try to do that.

JC: I see. But Teen Art Night and the Holland Project are definitely about exposing young people to all kinds of art and ideas. It’s not like you’re tailoring the content to a younger audience.

AF: Oh, yeah. It’s always open to all-ages, so we always definitely keep that in mind. But we don’t want to “kid” anything down.

JC: I’m sure I was a late bloomer to have gone in and been shocked by Sarich’s artwork. Anyway, that’s kind of an aside, I suppose. So, it started out as a sort of Valentine’s Day event, and now it falls after spring break and the Scholastic Art Awards. Tell me a bit about this year. The event incorporates everything from performance art to culinary art. You’ve got catering by Hug High School students?

AF: That’s a partnership we’ve been doing for a while—having the Hug High culinary arts class come out and cater the event. It’s an exciting one for them, because they get some experience outside of school. They also cater our Stranger show we do every year—which is a Hug High-based event—and also do the catering for the Scholastic Awards here as well. I think it’s always a fun experience for them. It’s a little bit different than just doing the school events. It gets them out and gets them that experience as well.

JC: That’s a good point. Getting to cater inside an events space like the Nevada Museum Art would be cool. It’s really a sought after events space.

AF: I think it’s fun for them, too, because they’re catering what’s essentially a giant party for their peers, as well, which is a lot of fun. And then we also have a bunch of bands coming up. Brigdon could speak about that a little more.

JC: Tell me about the bands.

BM: For Teen Art Night, we typically try to keep the bands on the younger side, like newer bands, and try to keep it pretty diverse as well. This year we have a college-age band that’s been playing here for maybe three years now. They’ve been involved since they were pretty young. And then another band called Life After Mars, and they’re all still in high school, but they’ve been in different bands since they were in early, early high school. So they’ve been playing here for maybe two years already. And then there’s this young hip-hop artist called Young J who just started performing. He played this all-local hip-hop show a couple of months ago. And he’s doing some really cool stuff. He’s pretty young as well. And I think that should be a really cool addition, especially given the theme this year.

JC: OK. And who’s the college band?

BM: Night Rooms.

JC: So you’ve got those three artists. No DJ set this year then?

BM: There is a DJ. Every year, we do a DJ as well. The last couple of years, we’ve had DJ Peach Sprite. … Her name’s Kate, and she does a lot of dance parties here. She usually does at least three or four a year, along with being sort of our go-to DJ.

AF: She does a lot of, like, throwback hip-hop.

JC: Rad. Talk to me about the hands-on stations. Those have often been tied into the themes of what’s on display in the galleries in years past, yeah?

AF: This year our kind of jumping off theme was Gucci Garden meets Lisa Frank. It’s kind of a bit of a mashup of that—Baroque inspired with a modern twist. So we have a bunch of different hands-on booths.

BM: Sort of playing off that theme, we’re doing a little make-your-own-perfume booth. We’re doing a collar station, I believe. We’re going to outfit everyone with some powdered wig-looking things to fit in with the theme. What are some more of the hands-on stations?

AF: We have a DIY notebook and journal station, so people can start off with doing some paper marbling to make covers or doing some funky collages. And then they’re move over to a binding station to make a little journal or notebook. We also have a bedazzling station, where people can make DIY brooches, jewelry, bedazzled sunglasses. … And then we always do a button making station, so people can come and press their own one-inch pins. That’s always a popular one.

BM: We’re having an artist work on a backdrop—like a selfie station, photo booth backdrop.

AF: That’s always a good one, too. We always have a some kind of themed photo booth or backdrop so people can take photos of each other.

JC: You do a live photo feed, too, huh?

AF: Yeah, we always have somebody roaming around doing a live feed on Instagram and our social media. … We usually take over the whole bottom floor atrium with bands and workshop stations. And then the museum school classroom on the second floor, too, usually has something going on. And then people can do some hands-on things, walk around and check out the exhibits, listen to bands, get some food.

JC: I read that the 2016 Teen Art Night brought in something like 700 people.

AF: It’s usually a ton of people who come out, which is a ton of fun. And it always ends up being like a big dance party by the end of the evening.

JC: How much does it cost?

AF: This year it’s 10 dollars—and that includes all of the hands-on booths and stations, food, drinks and all of the bands and everything and access to the entire museum.


JC: I saw something on Facebook about a way that teachers can apply for a waiver or a fee reduction. Is that correct?

BM: Yeah, I think they usually just contact Claire at the museum. []

AF: We usually try to have that as an option for kids who might not be able to afford it but still want to come out, so that it’s accessible to everybody.

Learn more about Teen Art Night, happening April 27, by visiting the Holland Project’s Facebook page:

This article was updated on April 16 to reflect the correct date of Teen Art Night and the correct spelling of Claire Munoz’s email address.