McCarthy guiding Brewery Arts through transition

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Those who spend time at the Brewery Arts Center know him well. He's the guy behind executive director sign in the front office. Intense and passionate, Joe McCarthy is guiding the center as it evolves into a regional arts complex.

Due at least in part to his efforts, St. Teresa of Avila -- once the historic Catholic Church-- is now part of the Brewery Arts Center. In recent months, the organization hosted its first performances in the hall and it wouldn't be McCarthy-like if he didn't take an opportunity to stump for his cause.

"The church has allowed us to expand our programming and we've just begun," he said. "We have high hopes of flooding the church with so many different kinds of entertainment, that the community will have lots of choices."

The son of Irish immigrants, McCarthy was born and raised in Manhattan. His father was a motorman, or conductor, in the city's subway system and he grew up in "the projects," New York's answer to low-cost housing.

"I grew up in the streets with lots of friends and participated in lots of sports," he said. "It was a great childhood."

According to McCarthy, the arts were an integral part of education at that time and the discipline he learned while acquiring those skills has proven invaluable.

Under his guidance, it's an experience the Brewery is attempting to bring to the children of Carson City.

"Many young people are wise enough to reach out and develop their artistic talents on their own level," he said. "We give them the opportunity to actively participate in everything from theater to visual arts. They emerge better citizens, with skills that translate directly into their day-to-day lives. We at the Brewery take great pride in knowing that we're making that contribution."

Drafted into the army at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, McCarthy attended Officer's Candidate School and served as an artillery officer until 1971. He discovered the West during that short military career, spent primarily in Colorado and California.

He acquired a bachelor's degree in history at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and taught at elementary and secondary levels in non-traditional settings, including Northern Nevada's Correctional Center. He first moved to Nevada to take a position with the Job Corps at Stead, north of Reno.

He acquired his master's degree in curriculum development at State University in Albany, N.Y., and afterward made a career change, taking a series of administrative jobs with the state of Nevada. He was chosen to head the Brewery Arts Center in 1996.

He is married to Ann Price McCarthy, a Carson City attorney specializing in family law and together they have two grown daughters.

Sundae is an elementary school teacher in Washoe County and will soon start work on her master's degree. Caitie, a Radio City Rockette, lives in mid-Manhattan.

"All her training was acquired right here in Carson City," McCarthy said with pride. "She trained at the Pinkerton Academy and with Gena Kaskie. She also gained experience through Karen Chandler's High School drama program.

"We moved to Carson City in 1979, raised our kids here and continued our professional lives here," McCarthy said. "A team of wild horses couldn't drag us out."


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