From ‘Our Town’ to Art Town | NevadaAppeal.com

From ‘Our Town’ to Art Town

PETER THOMPSON

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Susan Mousel, left, and her friend Charles Kihm, of Carson City, sit in Java Joe's coffee house on Friday afternoon. The local coffee house is filled with various artwork.

For all the treasure Carson City has seen during its century and a half of booms and busts, the local art scene is still “roughing it,” undernourished by just a handful of downtown galleries and coffee shops.

Reno and Tahoe have enhanced their reputations, becoming culturally viable and diverse entities – proving art can thrive alongside gambling and vice versa, while The Bellagio in Las Vegas has taken things one step further with its gallery of world-class art.

Admittedly, art criticism for criticism’s sake is pretty similar to two children at an ice cream shop fighting over whether chocolate or vanilla tastes better.

In a perfect world, any attempt at art should be commended. If you like it – it goes on your wall. If a piece of art makes you happy – it is good.

All that said, chocolate is the better flavor.

But having an über-grad egghead and some hipster goon in black-framed glasses prattling on about “the natural history of form” in the middle of Mills Park may not be in the Carson City’s art community’s best interest.

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Finding the gold nuggets of authentic self-expression amid all the fool’s gold can be tough, but they are out there.

So go check out some of the galleries downtown (most of them are within a three block radius). Here’s what’s going on at an easel near you:

Nevada Artists Association King Street Gallery at the Brewery Arts Center

Ostensibly an artist’s cooperative, this gallery, opened in 1979, features painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry, fine crafts, porcelain baby shoes and vases for sale. The gallery is changed about every six weeks and serves the cause of supporting local artists. The nonprofit N.A.A. was formed in 1950 to develop and encourage all incantations of art by artists of all levels of technique.

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Check out: Noreen Humphreys’ one-of-a-kind handmade necklaces, Sylvia Poskevich’s deadpan abstraction, “Opus 65.”

Address: 449 West King Street adjacent to Brewery Arts Center

Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Phone: 882-6411

State Library Archives

Currently housing “Landscapes of the American West” by genuinely talented oil-painter Nancy Clarke, the show features oneiric desert landscapes from 2003-2004.

Clarke uses an extensive vocabulary of color to sneak up on you. Her deserts defy droughts, and her rock formations are porous enough to be living objects.

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Check out: “Mid-Summer, Lake Tahoe.” Also, adjacent to the gallery is the Nevada Constitution on display.

Address: 100 N. Stewart Street

Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday

Java Joe’s

Perhaps the area’s most daring art experience in Carson, this coffee shop features skate decks designed by local tattoo artists, post-modernist, experimental and street-modernist art decorating the walls.

Artist with a “chubby sense of humor,” Christopher Hataway says “When I make art, it’s largely an act of freeform meditation.”

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Check out: Deanna Hoover’s tongue-in-cheek Realist paintings.

Address: 319 North Carson

Hours: Monday-Thursday 6 a.m.-8 p.m.

Friday-Saturday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

Sunday 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Phone: 883-4004

Stewart Title Window Display

Billed as Carson High School’s “Main Street” Art Gallery, the display features collages and creepy masks and heads made by students. Back to school angst?

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Check out: Stewart Title provides a full complement of real estate assistance to attorneys, brokers, lenders, buyers and their representatives – and a window display for student art.

Hours: All night, if you’ve got a flashlight.

Address: 111 West Proctor Street

Phone: 882-6993

Comma Coffee

The Caffeine Gallery in the back room of the coffee shop, this month’s theme is “back-to-school” and features the artwork of two talented A.P. students, Milan Delvechio and Shelby Moulden. Milan focuses on fashion design both theory and practice, evident in her handmade blue dress. “Fashion in my eyes is art in its most superior medium,” she says.

Shelby draws “As if my hands were my brain’s translator to the world.” Her armor of irony shows up in a series of superheroes and comics.

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Check out: The coffee and the friendly crowd.

Hours: Most days 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; some days 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Call ahead.

Address: 312 South Carson Street

Phone: 883-2662

Great Basin Art Gallery

In business for 19 years, co-owner Rick Davis’ 130-year-old building is a piece of architectural history itself, one of the oldest examples of a “shotgun” floor plan in the area. The art ranges from traditional Western landscapes to modern Impressionist pieces.

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Check out: Michael Drury’s oils, Jeff Nicholson’s “Gibbs Trailer Park,” and the collection

of Carson City photographs circa the 1860s-1940s.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday

10 a.m. to 4. p.m. Saturday

Closed Sunday

Address: 110 South Curry Street

Phone: 882-8505

Contact Peter Thompson at pthompson@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.

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