Supervisors review public art projects

The roundabout at the intersection of South Carson Street and South Stewart Street that is the site for a proposed public sculpture.

The roundabout at the intersection of South Carson Street and South Stewart Street that is the site for a proposed public sculpture.
Photo by Scott Neuffer.

Carson City is looking for artists to help build community and a sense of democracy.

At its meeting Thursday, the Board of Supervisors heard about calls for artists regarding two different projects, one of monumental size and one the size of a sticker.

The first project calls for an outdoor sculpture in the roundabout at the intersection of South Carson Street and South Stewart Street. Supervisors held off on approving a request for qualifications, moving the item to their April 20 meeting. They want to give artists more time – expanding the project timeline — and want to locate additional funding, potentially from unused redevelopment funds.

The current budget is $150,000, with half from redevelopment funds and half from the Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority, known as Visit Carson City.

Supervisor Stacey Giomi pointed out construction-related costs have increased. He emphasized the project is a “gateway” project.

“I don’t want to shortchange this,” he said.

He added, “We’re going to build something that lasts until my granddaughter has kids.”

Supervisors Maurice White agreed that costs could increase, “getting right past our current budget.”

Supervisor Lisa Schuette expressed concern about the timeline, saying she wants to err on the side of giving artists more time for research.

“I just think this is such an exciting project, and when it’s in, it’s in,” she said.

Mayor Lori Bagwell was open to boosting the project budget but wanted to locate funding first.

“I don’t have a problem having sufficient money to do what we’re wanting to do, but I don’t like to approve things without knowing we have the money,” she said.

Sierra Scott, the city’s arts and culture supervisor, told the Board comparable projects cost at least $200,000. Supervisors concluded $200,000 could be the right number and directed staff to bring the item back on April 20.

Scott also described the future process of artist selection. As soon as supervisors approve the request for qualifications, a call for entries will go online.

“Phase one is just establishing a pool of artists,” she said. “We’re looking at resumes. We’re looking at past work. We’re getting references. It’s really an overview of the artists themselves, not the proposed project.”

A review panel made of art professionals, members of the public and members of Visit Carson City and the Carson City Cultural Commission will select up to three finalists. Finalists will visit the project site in south Carson — something Bagwell said needs to be mandatory — and then will develop project proposals. The same art panel will eventually select the best project and send it to the Cultural Commission, which will forward their recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

Scott said besides visiting the site, the artists will meet with the public in an “open, collaborative process.”

“So, members of the public can discuss what they’d like to see in the roundabout, and the artists will get to know Carson City, our history, our culture,” she said.

Scott later told the Appeal that even with an extended timeline, the city plans on the project being completed by the end of June 2024.

Each finalist will receive a $3,000 honorarium.


The second public art project discussed Thursday was a sticker contest organized by the Carson City Clerk-Recorder’s Office for the 2024 election cycle.

Members of the public are being asked to participate in an “I Voted” design contest. The Board of Supervisors will select the winning entry from finalists at their June 15 meeting, and the winning sticker will be featured in 2024 elections, including the Presidential Preference Primary next February.

“It’s so important for us to be aware of the upcoming elections in 2024” said Clerk-Recorder Scott Hoen. “We got three of them. It starts in February with the Presidential Preference Primary, which means early voting starts at the end of January, which means our team is busy getting ready to train poll workers — about 120 poll workers — the first couple weeks of December.”

Emily Toups, deputy clerk, said the contest is a way to get the community involved in the election process.

“Anyone who is a Carson City resident of any age is open to enter in this contest,” she said.

Toups said the Carson City School District and Western Nevada College are helping to get the word out. A similar contest in 2019 produced a sticker designed by Carson High student Victor Clavel.

“Our office will narrow it down … and then will come back here June 15 for the Board of Supervisors meeting and present you guys with five finalists,” said Toups. “From there, you guys get to vote on the winning sticker for the 2024 election cycle.”

The contest opened April 6 and will run through May 5. Residents can visit to see rules, download a copy of the entry form and submit designs online.

Residents can also pick up contest forms and turn in their designs at the following locations during regular business hours: Clerk-Recorder’s Office, 885 East Musser Street, Suite 1025; Executive Office at City Hall, 201 North Carson Street, Suite 2; and the Carson City Library at 900 North Roop Street.

The work must be original, according to contest rules. It also cannot contain candidates, political parties or advocacy for an issue. Furthermore, designs cannot infringe on copyrights or trademarked material.

“Our office is really looking forward to all the wonderful designs that the community comes up with,” Toups said.

Bagwell said it will be hard to narrow down contestants “because we have so many really good artists in this community.”


In other action:

• Supervisors unanimously approved a collective bargaining agreement between Carson City and the Carson City Firefighters Association, Local #2251 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, on behalf of grant- and contract-funded wildland firefighters.

The agreement will last through June 30, 2026, and will cost roughly $1.57 million, which will be covered through third-party grants and contracts. These include grants from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act and the Nevada Division of Forestry as well as contracts with NV Energy.

The city’s general fund will not be liable for the salaries and benefits, according to City Manager Nancy Paulson.

The wildland fire group currently has one senior crew member, one equipment operator, one fuels management grants administrator and three crew members. Supervisors recognized the group as a bargaining unit last year, according to a staff report.

• Supervisors approved the second reading of an ordinance repealing 17.10 of city code, which previously governed common open space developments.

Supervisors unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance at their March 16 meeting. This time around, the vote was also unanimous.

The Andersen Ranch West subdivision project, west of Ormsby Boulevard, was filed under 17.10 before the repeal and will be assessed under the previous code. Last year, supervisors sent the project back to the planning commission to give developers the opportunity to address public concerns and rework the design. The project is expected to return to planning commissioners on April 26.


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