Anthea Humphreys, executive director of the Sparks Museum and Cultural Center, said bringing in not only a first art exhibit, but an exhibit full of Nevada artists, is a great way to show off the Cultural Center and its versatility. “Wally’s World: The Loneliest Art Collection in Nevada” opened Wednesday at the Sparks Museum and Cultural Center for the first of many stops throughout Nevada.
“I am really excited about it because not only is it the inaugural stop for the exhibit, but it is our first time having art on the walls in our new Cultural Center,” Humphreys said Wednesday prior to opening the exhibit, “So it is a dual celebration. Wally, the owner of all of this artwork, is coming out from Eureka and he is a well-known character around the state.”
Wally Cuchine has collected about 1,500 pieces of art, much of it from his time spent in Eureka, and the 35 pieces unveiled at the Cultural Center Wednesday evening feature prominent artists in Nevada depicting rural locales from around the state. Cuchine keeps his art in three large mobile homes in Eureka and one Nevada artist said Cuchine “hung art in every available nook and cranny in each of them.”
“A first time visitor to either of Wally’s galleries is invariably overwhelmed,” said Jim McCormick, curator and University of Nevada, Reno professor of art. “A word like plethora might come to mind as one tries to sort out the visual agglomeration. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling, on tabletops and under furniture — a seeming infinity of images that can easily muddy one’s attention.”
Humphreys said bringing the Wally’s World gallery to the Cultural Center was made easier by the Nevada Arts Council and the partnership between the two. She said the organization will aid in attracting more Nevada artists to Sparks.
“The Nevada Arts Council makes it easy for us to be able to show the work so they have put everything together,” Humphreys said. “I just had to jump the gun to make sure we could be the first ones to host the gallery.”
Humphreys said Wally’s World, which is on display at the Cultural Center through June 15, is different from other exhibits done below the Cultural Center in the museum. While it is a bonus to hold visual-based art on location, she said the intent of the museum is not to become an art gallery.
“A lot of the other exhibits we have put on are artifact-based and not necessarily visual art,” she said, “And this particular collection fits in with our mission because it is art from Nevada artists and from around Nevada.
“We are certainly not trying to compete at all with the art museum or anything like that, it is just that art reflects history throughout periods of time and they complement each other. This exhibit is perfect for us because it all local artists.”
The Sparks Museum and Cultural Center will be busy during the coming months as it prepares for the Western Heritage Festival from May 10-12 before setting up another exhibit by a Nevada photographer Erik Lauritzen called “Stop the Car, Dad!” The photo-centric display will feature unique sites located throughout the state gracing the roadsides of the barren highways. Lauritzen’s gallery will run from June 20 through September 3 at the Sparks Museum, located at 814 Victorian Ave. in Sparks.