Commentary by Matthew Welter : A rally around liberty
For the Nevada Appeal
That building at the base of Spooner Summit has been home to an important art happening for more than a decade. I’m Matthew Welter and in 2000 we moved the sculpture company and apprenticeship program there. The studios are important because of their locale and role of training artists, even as community leaders look to the arts as a an alternative geo-tourism attraction. The location is officially a “gateway” both to the Capital City and the Tahoe Basin. Now it is threatened.
Timeless Sculptures has been a loved community project from day-one. The move and set-up from Tahoe took months and people from all around joined the popular apprenticeship program to put enthusiastic hands, backs and minds to the grueling effort. The Brewery Arts Center came to aid the cause, in a visionary move with a five bedroom house at sacrifice rents and the BAC became our home for two years. Without that break, Timeless Sculptures would not have come to rest at the gateway.
Sept. 11, 2001, inspired my proposal for a gateway sculpture park at the locale and a series of patriotic commissions have given the idea roots. Then began the spiraling decent and spectacular mortgage collapse in 2008 and suddenly second home owners had even less money for art. The company’s decline has continued by degree and now the rents have fallen delinquent. A familiar story for Carson City businesses, but this one affects the community image at a time when Nevada and neighboring communities need our sources of pride and identity. State stats are discouraging on all sides; gaming suffers, along with its tax-base, the state fair is gone and Nevada’s image sags.
But this last summer brought pride to Nevada as the birth-place of a patriotic art installation. “Liberty (R)evolution” fortified Ski Run Marina, in South Lake Tahoe when the marina’s owner, holding hopes to fill empty showrooms agreed to host the provocative attraction. The media-friendly display includes a 30-foot, much heralded Statue of Liberty called “Hand of Order” and five smaller-but-still massive sculptures called “Guardians of Liberty.” The plan worked. That inspiring attraction is now credited by all with having sparked an active art center at the central marina featuring half-dozen new galleries, weekly events, a radio station with a weekly art show – and welcome activity.
Now a funding drive using the ingenious art-funding platform Kickstarter.com to bring the (R)evolution to another struggling marina nears a do-or-die Memorial Day deadline. We hope to use the website again and again to provide money to the arts; bypassing strained community coffers.
Hampered by financial distress and despite best efforts by many, this funding drive is close to ending without successfully raising expenses, as called for in an all or nothing protocol.
I’m writing to the people of our High Sierra community to help. I hope to rally support, empower the arts and save the campy art studio in south Carson from demise in the process. The property’s owner, also feeling the pinch has an offer from a mining concern to buy the metal building ASAP unless the sculpture company become current on his rents and he has issued a deadline; also, ironically by Memorial Day!
We need an art angel or two or many to save the day and Memorial Day weekend is a grand time for a community to rally around Liberty. My own urgent passions have had me working ’round the clock on this community enhancing measure for years, despite valid bookkeeper concerns and I hope you or someone you may know can help. Otherwise I’m afraid the blue building with the white clouds at the gateway – and hopes for an important cultural feature there may soon be gone for good.
You can even end up with a piece of this American slice of history for yourself if you will please visit Kickstarter.com, search Liberty and share this article today.