Like many other American cities growing exponentially and vastly evolving into distinct cultural hotspots, Reno is in the midst of a renaissance. Unlike every other American city, however, Reno’s is completely unique; more than a century of history and a world of influences have contributed to a sustained culture for quite some time. Only now, a new generation of artists, musicians and creative types have crashed into and merged with that old culture. What we have now is unprecedented.
And the evidence is everywhere. It’s the bright murals splashed onto the sides of decades-old brick buildings. It’s a year-round celebration of Burning Man lifestyle. And it’s the surprisingly wide array of art galleries scattered across the epicenter of this cultural revolution: Midtown.
If you think about it, art has always been an integral part of Reno. The breathtaking views that surround the city on all sides just beg to be immortalized on canvas. The University of Nevada draws creative young people from all over the world to see their artistic visions through.
Galleries have long since collected these visions, but like I said, the styles range significantly. For the classiest afternoon out, or to experience our town’s creative, cultural shift firsthand, there’s no better thing to do than to visit Midtown’s incredible, eclectic art galleries.
Here are my top choices for art galleries in Reno's Midtown area. But this is by no means a comprehensive list.
Let’s start at an art mainstay: Stremmel Gallery on Virginia Street. Stremmel has displayed the works of local artists for years in a modern, open and gorgeous space. Each artist and collection bring something new to the table – something always impressive. And once you visit one, you’ll be coming back each season to see what’s new. Next up is painter John Salminen displaying his interpretations of City Life – colorful portraits of urban scenes in stunning watercolor.
For a change, not far is the Holland Project. The place is a music venue, artists workshop and micro gallery founded by the most ambitious of Reno’s younger generation. This gallery is where you’ll find experimental modern art and photography. Next up here is local photographer Marjorie Williams’ Multicolored Reflections of Self, a collection of self portraits. Head over to check out the work, then stay for one of the Holland Project’s intimate live shows.
Perhaps the pinnacle of the Midtown art scene is the Nevada Museum of Art. The stadium-sized event center and multi-floor gallery is brimming with the best of local talent, from intricate sculptures to exhibits that study Nevada history to in-your-face modern art of all kinds. I would say it even tests the boundaries of what an art gallery can do, with interactive exhibits and displays that might just blow your mind, or at the very least make you think. There are a handful of current exhibitions, such as a photographic history of Burning Man, a massive orbital reflector and Unsettled, an artistic exploration of the Greater West ranging from Canada to Central America.
Last, we have something a bit different. Reno Art Works is an organization that encourages artists of any age or skill level to create, especially through its workshops and open professional work space filled with tools and materials. But it is also a gallery displaying the wide-ranging works of local professionals as well as, potentially, yourself! It’s one of the organizations that helps put on the annual Reno Sculpture Fest as well. Think of it as a living gallery, a hands-on place where you might stumble upon your own creative genius.
All these and more are hiding in plain sight all over the city. No matter what kind of artistic venture you might be in the mood for, Reno has the perfect gallery. Plus it’s never too late to be blown away by the sheer talent and skill that this city contains, still developing right in front of our eyes.