YERINGTON - New logos, er, images, are on the way for the Lyon County Library System and Lyon County as a whole.
The libraries here have always used a generic state logo - a cowboy in a state of Nevada outline. But Library Director Christiane Freer-Parsons thought the creative powers in Lyon County could do better than that.
She found an artsy couple with an alfalfa ranch in Mason Valley with just the creative powers to give the libraries a lively identity. Graphic designer Pat Fietta and her sculptor husband George LeMaitre developed a new logo and designs for library sculpture gardens with a $3,000 grant from the Nevada Arts Council.
"It's an image, not a logo," Freer-Parsons insisted. "Because an image is all-encompassing and reflects a broader vision of the library as a whole. A logo is just a logo."
The new library image, unveiled earlier this week, comes in two versions: an outline of an open book and the same open book with a reading cowboy.
"It is reading on the range," Fietta said at her studio. "We thought it was a great tie in, the open book. It has a lot of heritage, sitting on your horse and reading a book.
"My process was to go to the library's mission statement. I go through books and something will click. Then George and I will start talking. He came up with the image of a reading cowboy. I first came up with the open book."
The library image will appear on bookmarks, posters, letterhead, business cards, banners. Freer-Parsons expects the reading cowboy to surface around January.
"This is about identity and marketing," Freer-Parsons said. "Our vision is to become the primary source for up to date information for Lyon County residents and to make sure people know about us."
LeMaitre drafted sculpture gardens for the libraries in Yerington, Smith, Silver Springs, Fernley and Dayton. His conceptual designs include amphitheaters for poetry reading, benches, banners, shady areas, walkways amid sculptures and an interactive fountain in Yerington that one can walk through.
"This is all just ideas," LeMaitre said. "There's not a lot of public art in Lyon County. We come from the Bay Area where there's a lot of public art. We want to create a space where they can show their art. There are artists in Lyon County.
"I see the sculpture gardens as quiet, contemplative places where you can read or talk."
Freer-Parsons said several years will likely pass before the sculpture gardens take shape at libraries but they are part of the library system's vision drafted in October.
"We want to take the library beyond the walls," Freer-Parson said.
Fietta and LeMaitre call their 40-acre alfalfa spread and artist's haven the Starry Night Ranch. They built a distinctive two-story house and separate his-and-hers art studios in the five years since moving to Mason Valley from the San Francisco Bay Area.
"We wanted our home to look like a barn," Fietta said.
They created more of an artwork than a barn. Culvert pipes were used as door columns. Galvanized corrugated sheet metal lines the top half of the outer walls with cream stucco along the bottom half.
A fountain sits between the house and the studios. The front door has a crackle finish in green giving it a weathered look.
"I love that stressed out look," Fietta said.
While designing the library image, Fietta simultaneously sketched out a new logo for Lyon County. This will replace the copper-and-green logo that heralds mining, agriculture and recreation around the county flag.
The county's leadership team - elected officials and department heads - in a four-month span discussed a new logo. A survey of town leaders and others around the county determined the elements that Fietta should incorporate into her design.
"We wanted the logo to be more representative of what the county is now," said Lyon County Public Works Director Dan O'Brien, chairman of the logo committee.
The blue/black design first unveiled on Oct. 21 depicts a galloping riderless horse and a mountain range representing the scenic beauty, free spirit, old tradition, current and future directions of Lyon County, O'Brien said.
The Lyon County Commission put off final approval of the logo until Nov. 18 to give residents a chance to comment on the design. The logo is on display at the Lyon County Court House in Yerington.
Lyon County Clerk/Treasurer Nikki Bryan played key roles in the outgoing and new logos. She served on the logo committee and she had a hand in designing the current Lyon County flag, which is the centerpiece of the outgoing county logo.
While in eighth grade in 1964, her history class had a contest to design a new county flag. Elements from three student designs were put together to form the flag, which will also be replaced with a new flag featuring the new logo.
"Mine was the Lyon and the two different colors," Bryan said.
Bryan supplied the copper/green field and the diagonal Lyon. Another student's design featured the pick and shovel and a third student proposed a cow.
Bryan wasn't bothered that her contribution was being relegated to history.
"No, I think it's time to move on," Bryan said. "I think the current flag doesn't represent the county right."