Many know Spike McGuire from his local performances, or his singer/songwriter showcase Loud As Folk, but now he’s taking on the role of executive director for the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City.
He’s moved into his new office on King Street and said after he hangs a few more pictures he’ll be settled in. The job came with plenty on the plate already with more cooking. He takes over as outgoing director Gina Lopez takes on the role of CEO of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.
After a couple weeks of transitioning and learning the job with Lopez, McGuire started his duties at the beginning of January. He said he is thrilled to take the position.
“I’ve always had a huge appreciation for the BAC, and it was an honor every time I played there,” he said. “It’s such a cool community asset and I am thrilled I can help to keep it going.”
The Reno native is happy to be working in Carson City. He said the city has a nice small-town feel where everyone is connected and people really know each other, but it also feels bigger with it being the Capitol and all the history included.
“Carson really kind of reminds me of everything that I’ve loved about Nevada,” he said. “It feels smaller than Reno, but also it feels bigger than Reno. It’s its own place and I really appreciate that.”
McGuire steps in with two big projects in motion. The BAC recently announced plans for a permanent outdoor stage, which is already 60 percent funded. And McGuire takes on the task of booking the talent for the Levitt AMP Concert Series, which starts in about six months. The music series of 10 free summer shows has become a staple of the BAC and the community.
He said he’s excited for some of the musicians he’s working on for Levitt and that he’s working on fundraisers to help complete the stage. He said the stage will be an important community asset and will expand what the BAC can do.
“I think it would lead to interesting opportunities down the road if the outdoor stage is always at our disposal,” he said.
RELATIONSHIP WITH BAC
McGuire and the BAC already had a working relationship through the years. Loud As Folk, his singer/songwriter music series has had several sessions at the BAC and he’s performed solo, and with his band, Six Mile Station. He said it’s great because he knows so many people working there whether it be the staff, volunteers or the contractors.
“I felt really comfortable coming in because I had such a good relationship with people involved with the Brewery Arts Center,” he said.
Lopez said it was a straightforward decision for the board to choose McGuire as the new director because of his involvement and contributions.
“I think it was a pretty clear decision for the Board of Directors,” she said. “What he’s done is really cultivate the live music scene in Reno and has been a great asset to really bring all the musicians together. Not only music but art as well, and everyone respects him, and I’ve been seeing that for several years now.”
She said he’s already making an impact by diving right into the job. She’s confident for the future of the BAC after making the tough decision to leave.
“I spent a lot of years and time and energy and love to make the BAC thrive the way it has, and I feel comfortable in leaving it in Spike’s and Mikey’s (Wiencek) hands and the board and I know they can take it to the next level,” she said. “It was hard to do because I love the place so much, but I know it is in good hands, so that’s OK.”
The executive director handles the BAC’s business, but a background in arts also is needed.
“It is vital to know both industries,” Lopez said.
Lopez has a background in dancing, which gave her a cultural experience that helped with the job. She said you need to think like a businessperson but also as an artist.
“Only a person who has been in a position of both could understand it truly,” she said.
McGuire’s artist experience goes back to when he was a kid when he started performing. Then he started playing music when he was 16. He studied theater with a concentration in acting at Columbia College Chicago. That was his only time away from Nevada and he moved back around 2009. He worked in art galleries, keeping hours and giving tours and helped on projects across Nevada.
Loud As Folk gave McGuire similar business experience he’ll have with the BAC — handling events, artists, contracts and more.
He founded LAF in 2011 with Greg Gilmore, and they’ve grown the platform over the years. It’s a hub for the west coast songwriting scene focusing on highlighting emerging artists with distinct approaches to all genres of American roots music.
In McGuire’s free time, he said he enjoys exploring art in various forms and going to events.
BUILDING ON LEGACY
McGuire said for now, he’s going to make sure he understands how everything works with the ins and outs of the job. Then he will continue to build on Lopez’s hard work.
“I just want to make sure I have a really good hold on this wonderful legacy that Gina has built before I do anything too wild or grand,” he said.