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Art gets alternative
by Cortney Maddock
Jul 07, 2010 | 960 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Cortney Maddock - Artist Rachel Kaiser stands next to two of her drawings that are featured in the East of West Gallery at West Street Market. The gallery is hosting the "Visions of Future Reno: Energy in Transition," which is put on by Transitions Reno and the Electric Auto Association of Northern Nevada. There also will be art on display at the River Gallery in Reno.
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When community groups Transition Reno and the Electric Auto Association of Northern Nevada approached area artists to participate in the groups’ Artown exhibit, there was one focus: sustainability and what that could mean for the future.

The exhibit “Visions of Future Reno: Energy in Transition,” was able to attract 16 artists all with a passion for the environment, renewable energy and sustainable living. The artwork will be on display at East of West Gallery at West Street Market and at the River Gallery in downtown Reno.

The visions of sustainable living mingle with the tangible goals of future life in the mixed media exhibit.

“A lot of the art I did not see coming,” said Ken Harvey, a member of Transition Reno. “Remember, it needed to represent the community and what I saw was a lot of heart.”

Participating in the exhibit, artist Rachel Kaiser stepped out of her normal medium of print making to sketch renderings of West Street Market and the future of what Moana Pool could look like — wind turbines, solar panels and plants.

Kaiser, who spent time in New Zealand as a ecological volunteer, said she met with Harvey in order to stay involved with renewable awareness and projects but also to focus the pieces she made for the show.

“We ended up going to Moana Pool first,” Kaiser said. “We talked with people from the city of Reno who said they were think about making it a communal space.”

With the vision of the pool changing, Kaiser drew what the pool could become. She also sketched the future of West Street Market.

“West Street Market is already set up as an environmentally conscience place,” Kaiser said, adding her sketch includes more wind turbines and solar panels.

On the other side of the grey wall from Kaisers penciled pieces are plans, unrolled and pinned up but clearly expressing architectural visions of Reno’s future landscape.

“I was brought on as a sustainable instructional assistant for (Truckee Meadows Community College) projects,” said Tamara Wright of Ecolution Studio. “The city of Reno requested a presentation of these projects.”

The projects, all composed by students in the architecture program at TMCC, are focused on making Reno a sustainable place to live. Wright gave students two areas to focus on: the Virginia Street corridor and the Fourth Street corridor. The first as a sustainable urban hub, the second as a sustainable resource distribution center.

“They’re second year architecture students, we let them open their minds,” Wright said of the somewhat vague assignments, adding the students did research and wrote papers as well as work on their projects. “Whichever corridor they were assigned to, there was a problem to assess. They’re not just building a building, but a functional system.”

The projects were eventually presented to the city of Reno and will also be on display at the Green Unleashing on Oct. 10.

“I think this was something people already want in this town,” Wright said. “At the city meeting, it challenged the planners and community leaders. The beauty of it being a tangible project is we can identify the loopholes in the system.”

The architecture projects have caused planners to rethink the permit and building process, Wright said. Harvey agreed with Wright and said the process of building without thinking needed to be revised.

“If we are in transition, our goal is to get people to recognize that,” Harvey said, adding transition could mean the environment and the community’s movement toward sustainability. “We are all in this together and we have to be flexible.”

The art at East of West Gallery displays the flexibility of the future visions of northern Nevada, some more bleak than others, some hopeful of environmental awareness and some abstract leading viewers to their own conclusions.

“Reno had the vision to create an art district and that created Artown and West Street Market,” said Bob Infantino, owner of East of West Gallery. “That encompasses music, performing arts, visual arts, to bring the community together to grow and be.

“We got to make it happen,” Infantino added about sustainable living. “It’s starting to happen by coming together.”

“It’s not just images,” Kaiser said. “It’s happening. These things are already in the works. I think when you make everyone a part of the solution it makes it fun.”

“Visions of Future Reno: Energy in Transition” will include information for people to take home, an e-mail sign up sheet for those wanting updates about community movements toward sustainability as well as a wide array of art from local artists.

The exhibit will be held through July at East of West Gallery with pieces also on display at the River Gallery in downtown Reno.

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