For the last several months, the community has waited for news from local arts and makers’ space nonprofit the Generator concerning a new location for its operations.
The Generator’s warehouse is often the site of construction for large Burning Man art projects but also serves year-round as a space for artists-in-residence, professional artists and community members looking to learn skills.
The Generator announced in March, prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns, that the lease on its current space in Sparks was expiring in May.
Jerry Snyder, president of the board of directors for the Reno Generator, told the Reno News & Review in March, the possibility of lease termination had been a known factor since the organization signed a new lease last year with the caveat that the building would remain up for sale—but that the Generator would not be removed from the space between June and September.
Snyder was also clear that the owners of the property, Tolles Development Company, have always worked with the organization—leasing the space to the Generator for well under market value.
“They’ve always been willing to work with us,” he told the RN&R. “They’re sort of the antithesis of the big, bad developer, in my mind. They’re very community minded. And they’ve always been happy to support us.”
During the pandemic shutdown mandated by Gov. Steve Sisolak moving out of the 35,000-square-foot warehouse would have been impossible anyway. Now, however, the time is approaching and packing and clean-up work is underway—despite the fact that a new location for the organization has yet to be settled upon.
Jessi “Sprocket” Janusee, Director of Communication for the Generator, told This Is Reno in late July that clean-out operations had been underway for about three weeks. People with things stored at the Generator had until Aug. 3 to retrieve them before they’d be donated or disposed of.
Janusee said the clean-out process has been difficult but they’ve hired two new facilities employees to help organize the work to get things packed up for storage or into the hands of people who can use them.
She said things that aren’t being stored go “outside, and…on Craigslist Free—and someone takes it within a day.”
“That’s been really helpful because then we just get it the hell out of here,” she added.
People have come by to pick up things ranging from scrap wood and metal to refrigerators. The Generator is also having a parking lot sale on Aug. 8 and 9, from 8-11 a.m. each day.
According to one of the new facilities coordinators, a man who goes by “Jello,” among the things they’re packing for storage are their resident artists’ pods containing their personal tools and materials. The large tools and machines in the warehouse that are communally used will also be stored.
Jello and Janusee said they were glad to have found a place to store these things at another local arts and makers’ space facility—Artech on far West Fourth Street.
“It’s nice a cross of art helping out art, kind of,” Janusee said. “I mean, we’re paying for storage, but it’s nice that they’re giving us space.”
“And they made it super easy for us,” Jello added, explaining that the original plan was to purchase shipping containers for storage that could then be used in some fashion at the Generator’s next location, when that is determined.
Artech was able to set them up with storage trailers in addition to space in its yard for storage, keeping the Generator from needing to purchase shipping containers.
The Generator is also asking the public to take a survey intended to help them better serve the “the population of Reno/Sparks and the surrounding Northern Nevada community.” Survey results will be used to develop new programming, as well as the layout for the new makers’ space.The survey can be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Generator2020.
Jeri Chadwell came to Reno from rural Nevada in 2004 to study anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 2012, she returned to the university for a master’s degree in journalism. She is the former associate and news editor of the Reno News & Review and is a recipient of first-place Nevada Press Association awards for investigative and business reporting. Jeri is passionate about Nevada’s history, politics and communities.