Eugene T. Paslov: Arts celebration showcased our rich pool of talent

I attended the 2011 Inaugural Arts and Culture Celebration in Carson City on Jan. 2. Impressive. It was a preamble to Gov. Sandoval's formal inauguration which took place the next day.

The governor and his family attended all of the events at the various art locations around the city. He spoke briefly about the optimism with which he is approaching his administration for the renewal of our state during the next four years.

It will be a challenge, and I, along with the vast majority of our citizens, wish Gov. Sandoval and his family well.

Tim Jones, chairman of the Nevada Arts Council Board, hosted the event at the Brewery Arts Center. He praised the numerous arts organizations that came together to make the Arts and Culture celebration a reality. They included: Brewery Arts Center, Artists Association, ACC-TV, Artisan Cafe, Northern Nevada Children's Museum, Carson City Library, Carson City Arts Initiative, Nevada Arts Council, Nevada State Museum, Department of Cultural Affairs, and Great Basin Gallery and Frame. Jones also thanked all of the heads of these various organizations for their help. The celebration demonstrated not only the ability of the arts to entertain but also, and more importantly, their power to inform and enlighten.

The BAC event started off with 17-year-old Emily Orellana, a junior at Reno's Rainshadow Community Charter High School, reciting an oral rendition of our National Anthem and a poem she had written. The power of this child's recitation and interpretation brought the meaning of poetry alive for the audience.

The Note-Ables, a singing group that uses music therapy to help disabled children and adults reach out and touch people in profound ways, was a sensational hit with the audience. We heard Richard Elloyan, a cowboy poet and songwriter, sing "This Side of the Dirt" to remind us of what we can accomplish before we get to the "underside of the dirt." Wonderful. We heard from the Reno Jazz Youth Combo and their middle school keyboard prodigy, Joey Grimes; Dr. James Winn (UNR) entertained and informed us with Chopin and a unique, creative improvisation.

The concert began with a reception with the Sierra Nevada Balalaika Society displaying their skills, and it ended with Dances from Jalisco, an outstanding performance of a Mexican folk dancing from Las Vegas.

I suspect Gov. Sandoval was very impressed with this remarkable display of artistic talent. Northern Nevada has a richness of talent that can be used in economic development. I sincerely hope the governor's theme of optimism includes this recognition that the arts have a significant role to play in our economic recovery.

• Eugene Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools.


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