Learn more about the history of the building and some of its residents.
Mary Bennett: Producer/Actor/Director
Acting and devising theatre since four, Mary Bennett has been blessed with many adventures in life, all which feed beautifully into her craft. Mary has been working professionally for over 20 years. Training includes: American Conservatory Theatre – San Francisco, Bay Area Theatre Sports, Dell Arte’ International Theatre Company (No. CA & Bali, Indonesia), New York Stage & Film at Vassar College, The B Street Theatre in Sacramento and Kennedy Center training as a teaching artist. Currently the Producing Director of Brüka Theatre in Reno, she divides her time between Producing/Acting/Directing and working as a theatre Artist in Residence throughout the West Coast. She also teaches improvisation at TMCC. Mary has created her own solo shows including Dorothy Parker … Shivering and Sighing a theatrical piece incorporating the short stories and poetry of Dorothy Parker, which won Best of The San Francisco Fringe Festival. Mary has received numerous grants and was voted best actor in Reno’s News & Review eight times and twice runner up in the Nevada Arts Council Fellowship. She has worked with local and regional companies including The Reno Philharmonic, The Reno Jazz Orchestra and The Sierra Nevada Ballet. Bennett also artistically directs and organizes the Carson City Ghost Walk and Ghost Walking Tours.
Martina Young Ph.D: Dance Artist, Dance Maker
As a dance artist and dance maker, my work is respondent to and the result of living with a poetic consciousness,—a deeply sensitive awareness to proprioceptive resonances between worldly human-and-not-human affairs, and the interior life of soul. Here lies the foundation that for me constitutes living an aesthetic life.
My art-making practice is necessarily wed to a disciplined way of life—body and soul,—one that honors and cultivates maintenance of a clarity of vision forged from the relationship between internal soul life and external worldly existence. Using a concrete language of the body as my basis for dance making, my work strives to translate something of our shared and mutual existence.
Craig Smyres: Artist
Sometimes there is a story. My installation, “autolust” is about the
behavior of global warming. It’s a big industrial show. Most of the
pieces were sketched out, preplanned, everything had a place,
everything fit together to form a whole. “autolust” has it’s own
novel, “The Timbers Were Hewn.” In my novel, like “autolust,” every
part serves the whole.
My passion for nature in art is also a passion for nature in life. In
2006, Reno announced that it was going to approve the development of
12,000 houses at Winnemucca Ranch, next to Pyramid Lake. Erik
Holland, Amy Maza and I organized a lobbying campaign of local artists.
I was the principle speaker before the various committees in the State
Legislature. Artists and art, we beat back a bill that would have
allowed noncontiguous annexation. We did our bit for the environment.
Ray Valdez: Artist
I have many influences and they have changed and evolved over the years. Initially I was influenced by watercolor artists such as Winslow Homer and his ability to create light, along with dimension with this medium. As I moved to mural work, artists like Diego Rivera opened my eyes to composition. Currently I have been guided by Matisse and his usage of cut-outs as fine art. As our art evolves the influences and practices we choose continue to change…..how exciting.
The ecstasy of creating is truly what motivates me and the inner feelings uprooted through this process. As a Native American I am able to express philosophies and emotions that no other media can convey to the people. We have struggled as a people and we continue to follow our old traditional ways and our art has removed pieces of the misconceptions of our culture.
It is always challenging to balance your own personal creative time with outside commitments. The balance is constantly changing and it is vital to understand what you need as an individual to have peace within mentally, physically and spiritually. Ultimately, as an artist we are always creating whether for yourself or within community instructional projects and they influence each other.
In the creative process I prefer to have multiple projects on going at any given time. This would include mural projects, creating fine art, framing fine art and offering instructional art courses. I am currently working on a mural for NAW and I also have a exhibition of my own work at my gallery.
Megan Berner: Artist
My work is greatly influenced by my native Nevada home as well as the vast prairies of the Midwest, being a twin, mapping and exploration, and countless hours of daydreaming. Coming from a desert home, I have always been drawn to more desolate, inhospitable, and subtle landscapes–places that seem to only show themselves to those who spend time in them and seek out what they have to offer. For me they have always invited introspection and reflection on the complexity of human-place relationships and our own internal-external manifestations of these relationships.
I am particularly interested in mirages and other light phenomena as visual representations of the liminal spaces of these relationships. I am interested in liminal spaces, internal and external–spaces that are transitional and in-between, not quite here or there. Mirages and other light phenomena, states of meditation, suspended moments, and dream states all occupy this kind of territory. Whether through reinterpreted historical photographs of explorers, vistas of sunrises, interactive installations of flag poetry, or letter pressed artist’s books, I am interested in creating spaces for daydreaming, exploration, and discovery to occur.
I work with the family program at the NMA on Second Saturdays. I also sit on the Reno Arts and Culture Commission and help advise the city on how to fund arts in the community, including public art and events like Art BLAST. Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance between making art and being an activist but I feel very connected to this community. I grew up here and so much has changed and transformed and I believe that it is possible as a passionate member of the community to be an influence.
I have lots of ongoing series dealing with themes that I wrote about above. I am going to be collecting footage for video and photographic series while on my residency to the Arctic. I also am continuing some of my flag work. All exploring ideas of place and environment.
Maggy Anthony: Author
One of the biggest influences on me as a writer was early exposure to
the writings of Ernest Hemingway, who was still alive when I was a
teenager and young woman. I liked the fact that he had adventures and
then wrote. I wanted adventure and I wanted to write and that was a
big influence on me when I decided to be a writer. Another was a
Literature Professor, Dr. Dorothy Mercer, who, when I was in my first
year in college, introduced me to the Greek dramatists, and would
stride up and down the class reading aloud from Aeschylus, Euripides
and others. I was electrified by the drama of it all. Later, when I
came upon Jung’s bio, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”, I saw how the
Greek dramas continued to be played out in modern times.
What continues to drive me as a writer, and more so as I age, is the
fact that I feel there are still so many ideas and so many stories
within me that I wish to express. My passions for mythology, for
women’s lives, for the drama of aging keeps me at the computer daily.
Then, too, a love of history. And in particular these days, the love
of the history of Reno in the Fifties, when I first encountered it as
my mother came here for a divorce. I love concocting mysteries
involving those days and writing them, adhering to historical,
I find that teaching the classes I do, and doing the dream group work,
keeps me in touch with the community outside the regular arts
community and I enjoy the new ideas that arise out of that.
Currently, I am beginning writing a project that combines the lives of
several prominent older women artists and the mythological element I
perceive as having come into their lives in the last several years of
those lives. It has intrigued me for several years, and now, as an
aging woman writer, I am pushed to put those thoughts and observations
Ivy Antonowitsch: Artist/Educator
Because I work in so many different mediums, I find that my influences change depending on the medium I am working on at the moment; however, I do seem to gravitate toward five recurring themes in my work, counter culture, the beach at Bolinas, downtown Reno, my boyfriend and the loft we share together downtown. Counter culture influences me when I am working on my jewelry and kitsch for my artisan crafts and the beach at Bolinas influences my photography, but I think my biggest influence comes from my home and boyfriend. The Riverside Artist Lofts house performing and fine artists, and find I am often inspired by each of them in a variety of different ways, but I am especially motivated by the daily activity that happens below my windows along the river. From families starting out with a wedding on the river, to the elderly homeless digging through garbage cans for food. Everyday provides a new theme to be inspired and influenced by. I find the biggest influence on my work to be my best friend, roommate and boyfriend. Not only does he encourage me, but he supports my insatiable need to create and is constantly feeding me ideas for new projects or direction. .
Obsession for everything art is what drives me. I am a self taught artist who is often found sitting along the river walk early in the mornings sketching. When we go on holiday, I make sure to pack art supplies so I am still able to feed the obsession of art while I am away from home. I express my passion in every stroke of my brush, line I draw, or logo I design. There isn’t any part of my art that I am not passionate about, and I feel that is reflected in my work.
I am a self taught artist and have always felt blessed for the opportunities my talents have provided me. As a means of “paying it forward” I have not only taught elementary school art for 11 years as a full time volunteer, I was also Western Colorado’s only female Scoutmaster in the BSA program for 11 years. Although I no longer volunteer with community youth, I donate my works for organizations who need it for sale for fund-raisers. As a freelance graphic artist I work almost exclusively with smaller non-profit organizations, offering a sliding pay scale that ensures professional graphic services with a soccer mom’s budget.
Bill Ware: Actor/Director
As an actor and director in theater, I believe that the audience should be challenged in a new and creative way with every project… So in this sense I’m influenced by The Living Theater, Jim Carroll, Bertolt Brecht and Hunter S. Thompson. But, when you watch a show I’ve directed you may notice influences from Dr. James Bernardi and Dr. Bob Dillard.
As a director, I love the logistics of it all. The planning, the meetings, the rehearsals, and the technical aspects. I love being able to tell a story that moves an audience to laughter or tears (or both if I do it right)… As an actor, I love the camaraderie and excitement of being on stage. But, if I’m brutally honest… It’s the people. Theater people are some of the most amazing people in the world.