Artistic Churchill County open house inspires |

Artistic Churchill County open house inspires

Aly Lawson
The Chappells are a family with five boys who take a look at Skip Reeves’ smoldering firefighting photograph. From left are Trenton, 10; Treyson, 4; Levi, 6; and Lucas, 8 (not pictured is Lincoln, 7 months).
Aly Lawson / LVN |

Well over 100 people stopped by Churchill County’s open house Tuesday night featuring local artists and giving county leaders and the community a chance to interact socially.

Professional and hobby artists as well as commissioners, the county manager, comptroller, district attorney, sheriff and mayor came together for the open house; there were also many representatives from county partners and organizations as well as families filtering in throughout the evening.

State Sen. James Settelmeyer, Assemblywoman Robin Titus and a representative from Congressman Mark Amodei’s office also joined the mingling crowd.

“I was happy to see that everyone toured our hallways … and spread out to visit with colleagues, old friends (and) artists,” said Julie Guerrero, county manager executive assistant, adding she was pleased about all the introductions being made.

Guerrero spearheaded the Celebrate Us art project with the goal of adding welcoming warmth and local creativity to the county building’s bare walls.

“Our local artists are actually incredible,” said County Clerk/Treasurer Kelly Helton, who also was recruited to display one of her photographs she previously had in her office.

Retired firefighter and self-taught photographer Skip Reeves runs his Silver State Photography business out of Fallon, and his work showing first responders in action provides interesting glimpses into their days.

“You take a million shots, you know one of ‘em is gonna turn out,” he said humbly.

Reeves added he and a few of his fellow photographers go out together and enjoy the group dynamic, developing friendships and each person catching completely different shots of sometimes the same thing.

“No one will ever be able to reproduce that,” he said of a moment in time on the wall capturing a startling sunset and desert brush.

For some artists, creativity connects them to family.

Painter Carol Thomas and fairy-house creator Dawn Gleason both give weight to sharing that interest with their mothers.

“Everything in the house reeked of oil and turpentine,” Thomas said smiling as she remembered her childhood home.

Gleason’s mother was a talented painter, but Gleason found herself more adept at constructing whimsical fairy houses, being interested in Irish folklore — several grace a glass bookcase near the building’s front entrance. Gleason also makes the furniture inside using clay and odds and ends from nature such as twigs and rocks.

“It was great to share that with her,” Gleason said of her and her mother’s art appreciation.

A family perusing the halls included five boys, one of which — 6-year-old Levi Chappell — liked Reeves’ photographs and said he wants to become a firefighter.

His mother, Julieann Chappell, said he took an interest when he was younger like with many children but it surprisingly remained a consistent passion.

“It’s stuck with me forever!” Levi said.

Levi’s 8-year-old brother, Lucas Chappell, described how his family has been watching the famously relaxing and talented painter Bob Ross on Netflix.

“I think, that looks so easy — but then when you try it, you can’t do it at all,” Lucas said laughing.

Lockwood said in the commission meeting Thursday the open house was a good opportunity to take a breath and recognize how well things are done in Churchill County, especially with so much going on in the county and state.

Helton told the LVN she remembers one member of the public jokingly saying a while ago that the county building’s green-carpeted hallway combined with the starkness recalled “the green mile.” No more.