Kathy Sisolak announces new program at Carson City arts awards
Carson City celebrated arts and culture Friday with its first Mayor’s Arts Awards.
“Arts is the glue that holds a community together,” said Mayor Bob Crowell. “I hope this is the first of more celebrations and showcases of the artists we have.”
Four awards were given out and all 18 nominees honored.
“To all of them I say a job well done,” said Mark Salinas, director, Carson City Department of Arts & Culture.
Gov. Steve Sisolak and First Lady Kathy Sisolak attended and the first lady announced a new program — The First Lady Presents — in which contemporary Nevada art will be chosen by a panel of arts professionals and displayed for six-month exhibitions in the Governor’s Mansion for all visitors to see.
“We believe it is a very exciting initiative. I believe the arts are central to who we are as a people,” said Sisolak. “And as first lady I’d be remiss if I didn’t say the arts are bipartisan.”
The first exhibition will launch in January and each artist will host a reception or talk.
The first award, for Arts Innovator, went to Cynthia Brenneman, who manages the Carson City Arts & Culture Coalition’s web site.
“Thank you so much,” said Brenneman. “We should be thanking the hundreds of artists who have participated in my projects.”
The second award for Service to the Arts went to Mike Wiencek, an arts volunteer and president of the Brewery Arts Center’s Board of Directors.
“It is an honor to be among this many creative, awesome people,” said Wiencek.
The third award for Community Impact went to Wild Horse Children’s Theater, which has put on 40 productions and has a no child turned away policy which means every child who auditions is involved in the production.
“Our next show, ‘Frozen,’ we had 168 children audition,” said Carol Scott, executive director of the group. “Our kids go on to do such amazing things.”
The final award for Art of Giving went to Southwest Gas, which supports and sponsors arts organizations and events in Carson City.
“It has been my joy to go into the community and find partners we could work with,” said Stacy Woodbury, administrator, public affairs for Southwest Gas.
Each award winner received art commissioned for the event made by Melissa Melero-Moose. A fifth piece of art was added to the Carson City’s permanent public art collection.
The awards luncheon, hosted by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce, was held in the Gold Dust West.
The keynote speaker was Heather Harmon, deputy director, Nevada Museum of Art, Las Vegas, who grew up in Nevada and recently returned to lead the effort to expand the Nevada Museum of Art to southern Nevada.
“This homecoming to Nevada has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve received both personally and professionally,” said Harmon. “Arts and culture are so powerful.”