Tour it up

Reno Open Studios

Marcia Neese working in her studio, one of the destination of this year’s Reno Open Studios art tour.

Marcia Neese working in her studio, one of the destination of this year’s Reno Open Studios art tour.


Maps with locations of the studios and media descriptions can be found at Sierra Arts, 17 S. Virginia St., and the Nevada Museum of Art, 160 W. Liberty St., among other locations. For more information or to download a tour map and brochure, go to

Reno Open Studio’s 2010 tour offers a unique opportunity to view a large number of art studios and installations in a short amount of time. The innovative event has evolved since its inception last year: In the first tour, there were 25 featured artists. This year, there are 39, which means an even bigger grand prize for the raffle winner who visits every artist. The prize is a piece of art from every single artist in the show.

“We have something for everyone,” says Marcia Neese, an artist participating in the tour. “We even have a forensic artist this year.”

Reno Open Studio 2010 tour takes place Sept. 10, 11 and 12. Admission is free for children and adults, and studio hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event offers the public an insider’s view of the artist’s world: Many artists rarely open their studios to the public, and the event represents some of the most talented artists in the region. The concept behind the art tour is to allow people the opportunity to meet the artist and witness the process behind their creations. Categories include sculpture, weaving, printmaking, photography, painting, ceramics, jewelry, gourd art and more. The concept of a group of artists offering a free admission tour was incredibly well received for the inaugural year, and this year, artists and organizers are hopeful there will be an even greater turnout.

The event has some experienced coordinators behind it. Painter Melinda Plumbridge is the driving force behind Reno Open Studio Tour. “I was involved for six years with a very similar event in Tahoe called Tahoe Art Tour,” says Plumbridge.

Mixed media artist Jann Selleck approached Plumbridge, who was involved in the planning and executing of the event last year, and the two decided to plan a Reno-based art tour. The weekend of the Reno Balloon Races was deliberately chosen for the tour. The races end at 9 a.m., and the tour starts at 10. This way, locals and visitors can enjoy two events, one following the other.

All participating artists are juried into the show. To qualify for a spot in the tour, each artist submitted an application with examples of their work. Artists who completed the application process last April received a studio visit from the jurors to assure safety and suitability of each site for public view. Plumbridge mentions that the event is a way to support local artists and finding one-of-a-kind gifts.

Erik Holland participated in the tour last year, and he’s looking forward to this year’s event as both a juror and a participating artist. As a juror, he has enjoyed the opportunity to visit each artist.

“We’re happy in that we’ve got a really good cross section of the Reno art scene,” he says. “We’re also excited to get some younger, edgier artists this year. … This is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and that’s what attracts lots of artists here.”

The unique aspect of this tour is the face-to-face interaction with the artists. Participants can view their works at museums and galleries, but the opportunity to listen to the artists talk about their work and creative techniques broadens one’s understanding of art and the individuals who create it. Neese attended the event last year and connected with Plumbridge. She was asked to take part in the show, and she decided to share a room with two other artists, Gini Campbell and Dianne McAllister. The biggest challenge of preparing for the show, she says, is working on smaller pieces so that all artists have enough space.

“I have a tendency to work large,” she says. “I like 3 by 3s and 4 by 4s, so I’m working on making it smaller.”