Nevada Artists Association to celebrate gallery’s 40th anniversary
Nevada’s art scene is getting ready for one of its biggest local celebrations, a real “whoopee” party since Carson City’s Nevada Artist Association took shape, according to local painter and resident Pat Holub.
The celebration, looking back on 40 years of the importance art has had in the Carson City community, takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. Nov. 3 at the NAA Art Gallery at 449 W. King St. Two founding members of the NAA, Holub and Donna Jensen, will be recognized for their part in launching the association at the festivities and the work of Louise Kerr, an award-winning Comstock artist who died in November 2018, will be on display.
The Historic Carson Brewing Building became a public space for artists in 1975. Holub and Jensen made efforts and used their talents to prepare the building.
Holub and Jensen said the process was slow, but the artists were determined.
“We didn’t have a permanent gallery,” Jensen said. “We bought a piece of property on Division and Washington (streets), and every time (the 12 artists) would meet together, they would buy a brick or donate money toward a gallery. We started showing up in the Senate chambers when the Senate wasn’t in session because they’d meet every other year.”
Jensen’s husband had been searching among Carson’s available properties for a dental office and had eyed the space on Division at Washington, she noted, but she felt it wouldn’t have been worth it for his needs.
“My husband decided against that lot,” Jensen said. “We went into that building and it was just a catastrophe. Some single lights were hanging from the ceiling. It was just full of junk. The Nevada Appeal had used the building (starting in 1951). … They had the Brewery in it, too.”
The members fixed up the space on their own. But at least once, the effort took more feminine tactics to get their heavier tools into the building when needed.
“When the Senate was in session, they’d put (our easels) in storage for us,” she said. “So I called on building and groundskeepers and said, ‘Would you please bring our easels up to our new gallery?’ And (one worker) said, ‘I don’t work for you.’ I thought, OK, so I went home and put on my cute little dress and high heels and I came back and said, ‘Would you please help us get these up there?’ He said, ‘Sure!’”
“It’s really quite new right now,” Jensen said. “We got flooded out 20 years ago, and we had to recarpet and redo the walls. That was a mess. Now we’ve got some leakage coming in on the ceiling.”
The association holds eight shows a year and new displays are changed out about every six weeks from various participants.
“They take out new art and put in old stuff,” Jensen said. “It’s quite a gallery and it’s run very well. I’m not doing much now because I’m ancient.”
Nevada Day will be one of the gallery’s biggest shows of the year, and both women said they look forward to it. But they both have an eye for color and appreciation for creativity that they’ve nurtured since they were young. Holub’s paintings, a few of which remain in her home, are dedicated to Nevada’s landscapes, while much of Jensen’s glasswork is on display in the gallery.
“I’m looking at the birds flying, in a birdhouse,” Holub said. “You do, you see things differently than regular people. And you see more things, and you see colors just like right now. But my backyard is the best it’s looked in years. I have more red in the trees than I’ve seen in years. It is really a beautiful fall. I think you do see things the way other people don’t.
“I took from everybody that came to Carson City,” Holub said of her art lessons when she was younger and even as a more mature artist. “And then you go to their class and you learn something new.”
NAA marketing director Dana Childs said honoring Holub and Jensen’s contributions to making the gallery happen at the celebration on Nov. 3 is important to the art community.
“We need to focus on the here and now, and what we’re really trying to do is go back and appreciate all of the year of effort people have put into this gallery,” Childs said.
Holub and Jensen together are well-respected members in Carson City, Childs noted, and their stories make it possible to remember the “good, ol’ days.”
“Our groups and associations are not generally filled with technology people, and we live in an age of technology,” Childs said. “The generation gap is definitely widening, but I think it’s nice of those who get technology are reaching back and showing an appreciation for art. When I look at what they’ve accomplished during an era where what you had to communicate was in writing or over the phone … all that was without having the resources we have, and that’s pretty amazing.”
For information on the celebration, visit nevadaartists.org.