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Public art installation for E. 4th Street approved

By Carla O'Day

Steel wire mesh sculptures that resemble trees are scheduled to be installed as public art later this year underneath an overpass near downtown Reno.

The East Fourth Street Public Art Project is titled “On Growth and Form” and is being done by artist Kipp Kobayashi of Claremont, California.

Installation under the North Wells Avenue overpass on East Fourth Street is scheduled to start as early as this summer, although the contract states it’s to be completed no later than December.

Kobayashi was selected by the Reno Arts & Culture Commission after a 1 1/2-year public process that included community engagement sessions with help from the non-profit organization Forecast Public Art, said Megan Berner, city public art coordinator.

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the city with a $100,000 grant, which will cover most of the cost, including installation, infrastructure, site preparation and lighting. The remaining $65,000 will come from room tax allocations in the city’s public art budget for 2019-20, the Reno City Council decided at its Tuesday meeting.

“Art is the opportunity to connect people where we live and I really like the art that was selected here because it does have some historical tie,” Councilman Devon Reese said. “But it also honors a nature aesthetic in a very industrial area so it’s kind of a cool interplay.”

East Fourth Street has undergone several transformations over the years and remains a notable part of Reno’s history. The art installation is an opportunity to bring together the neighborhood and create a sense of social cohesion, safety and identity, city officials said.

Mayor Hillary Schieve described Kobayashi as “incredibly talented.” Although she prefers the city prioritize locals, she said it sometimes brings in out-of-town artists if a local can’t be found who’s experienced working with specific mediums or large-scale projects.

“I think we really have to focus on our local artists because they’ve been some of the hardest hit,” Schieve said. “This is a lot of money, so I want to make sure that when we’re looking at art, we’re really distributing it across our local community.”

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