Carson City’s Silver Oak becomes ‘Cadillac Ranch’ |

Carson City’s Silver Oak becomes ‘Cadillac Ranch’

Kelsie Longerbeam
Sinuhe Olivas, 14, and David Jelinsky, 16, of the Doral Academy Red Rocks prepare to paint an old Cadillac on the driving range at Silver Oak Golf Course Thursday.
Brad Coman/Nevada Appeal

Silver Oak golf course has given the students of the National Art Education Society from Doral Academy Red Rock an artistic opportunity they’ll never forget.

Golf course owner Garth Richards has always had a passion for old cars, and had a collection of them at his ranch in Carson City. Drawing inspiration from the famous Cadillac Ranch in Texas, he had the idea to bury them around the course and then opened the opportunity for them to be painted. The school of arts immediately responded.

“I was looking for an art contest opportunity for the kids, and I jumped on this. I’ve been to Cadillac Ranch multiple times even, so this idea hit close to home,” said visual arts instructor Gina Cifonelli. “It snowballed, and they changed it from an open art call to the community to an invitation just for us. I’m so excited and so grateful to the golf course.”

The images the students are painting on the cars are all Carson City, Nevada themed, such as the V&T railroad and the Capitol, all but one — a car that will be painted with the Las Vegas skyline and the 58 names of all the victims of the Route 91 shooting this past October.

“I was looking for an art contest opportunity for the kids, and I jumped on this. I’ve been to Cadillac Ranch multiple times even, so this idea hit close to home.”— Gina CifonelliVisiual Arts Instructor at Doral Academy Red Rock

“This is a ‘Vegas Strong’ dedication car. I did an art history class where I did different roses with the initials of each victim, so we wanted to represent that again because it was a really important event that happened to our state,” said Veronica Robledo, 10th grader at Doral Academy Red Rock. “We’re having a lot of fun, and it’s just the first day. It’s been an amazing opportunity.”

Cifonelli and the general manager of the golf course, Terrie McNutt, worked together to create this trip for the art students and decided to let them take artistic reign with whatever they wanted to paint on the Cadillacs, within the theme of historic Carson City.

“Many times art students don’t get much recognition, like maybe athletes or even academic students, because the arts are so often put on the back burner. But this gives them a pallet if you will, to do their work and show it off,” said McNutt. “And we’re excited to be able to do it for them.”

When the students first arrived in Carson City, they were greeted by the staff of Silver Oak Golf Course and treated to breakfast, and then got the opportunity to speak with Rep. Mark Amodei about their state’s Capitol. Throughout the weekend, the students have plans to meet Mayor Bob Crowell of Carson City, tour the Capitol and the Legislature, and Western Nevada College.

“This trip tied education and the arts all together,” said McNutt.

Please support the Cadillac Painting Project at