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Getting in touch with arts in the Great Basin

By Mikaila Bird

Public art humanizes the urban environment and influences each visitor’s experience, representing the area’s culture, society, people and perspectives. Art stretches throughout the Great Basin in various forms of self expression inspired by the surrounding beauty and rapidly changing landscape. Let’s take a look at a few places where you can take in all that is Reno/Tahoe.

BELIEVE sign
(City of Reno Natalie Lumbo)
Space Whale
Space Whale (Tucker Monticelli)

Creative city escapes

The Biggest Little City is a continuously growing public art metropolis, and every time I drive around, I see something new. Reno is also the gateway to Burning Man and is exposed to the works artists from around the world display on the playa. If you have yet to get to Burning Man, you can find some of these installations displayed in the Playa Art Park in downtown Reno’s Riverwalk District. Be sure to spot the Believe sign and the large, intricate Space Whale located right beside the Truckee River. renoriverwalk.org; artspotreno.com

The Biggest Little City is a continuously growing public art metropolis.

 Midtown Mural
Midtown Mural (Jeramie Lu Photography)

Reno is filled with 2D and 3D murals ranging from painted electrical utility boxes to large frieze on the sides of buildings. The Midtown District is particularly saturated with colorful displays and the best way to best navigate your way around is to take a self-guided or docent-led walking tour with ArtSpot Reno — learn about the artists, their concepts, and even find those hidden gems that can be easily overlooked in a bustling city. renomidtowndistrict.com; artspotreno.com

Waters edge

The beauty of Lake Tahoe naturally brings out the best in artists and there are plenty of places to view the exceptional work inspired by the area. The Benko Art Gallery in South Lake Tahoe is an eclectic space featuring fresh, contemporary art in all forms, some by Lake Tahoe locals. Benko’s art exhibitions are always a blast, filled with live art and music, raffles, and lots of new friends. Stop by next time you’re in the area. I’m sure you’ll find something that will spark your interest and make you think of Lake Tahoe every time you look at it! benkoartgallery.com

Art connects us all while it decorates our city.

Rural imagination

The Carson Valley is a special place with a gorgeous, rural landscape nestled on the east side of the Sierra. There is just something humbling about the area; you’ll feel at home even if it’s your first time visiting. In a place where nature is the artist, you can picture amazing inspiration everywhere. The Carson Valley Art Council is the hub for handcrafts and if you’re planning a visit be sure to check out their diverse art happenings including artist receptions, concert series, local events, workshops and programs. cvartscouncil.com

Whether viewing a beautiful painting or a taking a selfie in front of a mural, art connects us all while decorating our city landscape, enhancing the esthetic and telling a visual story. It forces you to slow your stride and take in the surrounding environment. Step outside and get connected to the expression of the city!

Mural
Midtown Mural (Lisa Cassidy)