From The Left: Embrace The Art (Opinion)

Editor’s note: ThisisReno is pleased to welcome Don Dike-Anukam and Dave Mulligan as new contributors. Each will be focusing on local and state-level issues from their political perspectives — right and left, respectively. We plan to run their columns each Monday.


By Dave Mulligan

I recently made the mistake of reading the comments beneath an RGJ article online and was drawn into the fray. It was a story about a local art installation next to 395 in south Reno and the claws came out on both sides.

Including mine.

Art installations are popping up all over Reno. It’s fantastic. We’re lucky to have “spillover” due to being the gateway to Burning Man. Quirky geniuses walk the earth and they converge annually on our sprawling Playa just up the road. And we’re the beneficiaries.

There’s the rub. As art pieces drift off the playa like dandelion fluff and land here in Reno, residents then pass by, have their first look and the opinions begin to fly.

The big, red, spiky-looking one I mentioned earlier that appeared next to the freeway is a great example. Or a horrible example, depending on your point of view.

Let’s be honest about this. The appreciation of art is completely subjective. Ten people can look at the same sculpture and have ten different opinions.

But if you are one that looks on and decides it’s not for you, why would it make you angry? If I am flipping through radio stations as I drive and I happen upon a country song — which can literally make me queasy — I don’t get mad. I change the station.

My wife loves country music, which leads to interesting conversations and textbook case studies for counselors on the wondrous complexities of marriage.

The point is that we should simply be grateful to live in a town where the effort is being made to beautify our community.

Good people with the best of intentions are sprinkling a diverse array of accents along the pathways of our daily lives and we need to thank them, not scorn them for having the audacity to assault our aesthetic sensibilities with a giant red sea urchin.

Embrace the urchin. Or look away and move on to the next. These are tumultuous times, and pieces of art — whether you love them or hate them — are lovely distractions, as well as important examples of fellow humans trying to make the world a better place.

Embrace the art.


Dave Mulligan is a local Reno resident of over 25 years. He is a published author (Mulligan’s Wake), television producer and a left-leaning political activist (Masses Unite). He lives happily on the Truckee River and is the married father of three (his most important role, according to Dave).

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