Arts council seeks to inspire as it showcases local talent

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Ukrainian decorated eggs created by Zoria Zetaruk, Luba Eads and Natalie Pruc of Las Vegas are part of "The Texture and Weave of Traditional Art" exhibit at the Department of Cultural Affairs office. The exhibit runs now-July 27.

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Ukrainian decorated eggs created by Zoria Zetaruk, Luba Eads and Natalie Pruc of Las Vegas are part of "The Texture and Weave of Traditional Art" exhibit at the Department of Cultural Affairs office. The exhibit runs now-July 27.

For some, it's a place where they turn a hobby into a career.

For others, it's a moment in time, just before discovery turns to actualization.

And for others it, it's simply "the office".

"Unassuming" is the word Nevada Arts Council folklife program coordinator Pat Wells used to describe the exhibit currently taking up the lobby space of her downtown Carson offices.

"The Texture and Weave of Traditional Art" opened Wednesday at the arts council offices on North Carson Street. Works from Nevada artists and artisans are Set against a shade-lighter-than-burgundy wall in Plexiglas cases.

From textured hand-woven baskets and rope, to jewelry made from native silver, if some of the artifacts weren't so carefully displayed -one might just pass them up, Wells admitted.

"A lot of the artists don't really think their work is something for an exhibition," she said. "Well, I think (exhibits) like these show them otherwise."

One such artist is Virginia McCuin.

The 57-year-old silversmith from Silver Springs said she first got interested in working with metals and turquoise when she was growing up on a ranch in Tonopah.

"My father did branding irons; or he'd do a bit and lay some sliver," McCuin said. "When I got older, I wanted to engrave. We lived in Vegas for awhile... I looked in the Yellow Pages and there was a (local) engraver at a jewelry store.

"He was from the old-country and he said, 'If you're going to learn, you're going to learn for yourself'. So, I did."

It's that kind of logic, of a craft dying with the artist, that representatives of the arts council said they're trying to subvert.

"Part of the grants we give is to have artists (take on) apprentices," Wells said. "We've had artists through our (Folklife Apprenticeship) grant now go on to teach others who've received the same grant.

"It's self-perpetuating."

Artists like McCuin can attest to this philosophy.

She demonstrates and teaches for the arts council.

"...But I also teach on my own; I have people calling me all the time to teach. I have a lady coming from California - I will be teaching her in the fall.... I've passed it down and don't turn anybody down."

Fran Morrow, the artist services coordinator for the arts council, said that's the hope of the wholesale program - as symbolized by the latest exhibit.

"The goal of this exhibit is to also bring (attention) to different artists from throughout the state by making it a traveling exhibit," Morrow said. This is the last stop on the exhibit's three-year tour, Morrow said.

That the exhibit has seen time in schools, libraries and nonprofits, perhaps inspiring others to take refuge in the arts is what Morrow said drives the program.

"Through this we feel we get people interested, and that (can) turn into applications for grants," she said. "This exhibit represents Nevada and our true diversity of cultures.

"We hope to continue to produce (new) artists for quite some time."

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment