Reno officially gained another mural in the Wells Avenue area on Monday. The mural is at the Reno Little Theater’s dirt parking lot and created in cooperation with the Sierra Arts Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. Ten young artists from the Boys and Girls Club worked on the mural under the guidance of artist Pan Pantoja. Reno Little Theater donated the wall for the group’s use.
Annie Zucker, executive director for the Sierra Arts Foundation, talked about the value of public art. She pointed out surrounding buildings that displayed “buffing,” or areas where graffiti has been painted over with a flat color or chemically removed. Zucker explained that murals like this one help deter graffiti and other vandalism in blighted communities. She also presented a stipend of $175 to the young artists.
I spoke with the Boys and Girls Club Art Coordinator Eddie Guth about how the students came to work on the project. He explained that the opportunity was published in the Club and interested individuals could fill out an application. Guth explained that in many ways this was as much job training as it was training as artists. With only 10 available slots open, the teens needed to commit to the program like a job; if they didn’t show up they were out of the opportunity and the stipend.
Pan Pantoja, resident artist with the Sierra Arts Foundation and instructor for this mural, elaborated on this combination. As a group, they would work from the early morning untill 4 or 5 in the afternoon. He continued that part of learning what being a professional artist is like is working at a professional pace, which he said takes out some of the romance. He added that donating to local groups like Sierra Arts Foundation lets you see your donated money become something in your city.
Last, I spoke with Isabel Jacinto, a teen participant in the program. I asked her what it was like to work on such a large project with multiple people. She told me that on long hot days sometimes things could be a little frustrating but that everything would work out. A portrait painter herself, she explained she was able to contribute to the facial features in the mural.
If you would like to see the mural yourself, and you really do want to see it in person, take a drive down to the Little Reno Theater and take some time to appreciate Midtown’s newest mural. Reno Little Theater is located at 147 E. Pueblo Street in Reno.
CORRECTION: this article has been corrected to more accurately reflect the area in which the theater is located.
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