Artsy Smartsy

Linda Burton posting from Carson City, Nevada – “On the side of the mountain in northwest Carson City sits one of the most beautiful art galleries in the city,” I read in Focus Magazine (Spring/Summer 2011, p 14) as I tried to learn more about this area. Since I like both mountains, and art galleries, I kept reading. Not one, but three galleries in one building at Western Nevada College, the article continued; the Main Gallery, Atrium Gallery, and College Gallery. I put the magazine down, looked up the address, and drove out West College Parkway. I found the three beautiful galleries, and I learned about the college-on-the-side-of-the-mountain too.

 I met Keith in the parking lot, a student who offered to show me the Bristlecone Building; he led me through the skylighted entry hall to the Main Gallery. “I’m not an art student,” he said, in answer to my question, “I’m in the automotive mechanics program, and I’m scheduled to graduate soon. But I may continue with another degree.” We chatted about possibilities, changing majors, what to do. Keith headed off for class, leaving me to browse the art displayed against the stark white background; the walls curved and angled, each piece lighted perfectly, the eye directed as the artist hoped. Some questions came to mind: how many shows a year? Are these pieces for sale?

 In the hallway above I met staff member Linda; she explained the other galleries, answered my questions; yes, the pieces are for sale, go through Sharon Tetley, she’s in charge of the art program here. Linda gave me a WNC catalogue; pointed out the continuing education program too. “I just took a class myself,” she said. “I’ve been making jewelry for years, but this class taught me how to work with silver. I learned how to weld! It opens up so many possibilities for me.”

I offered words of praise, said goodbye, and wandered the other galleries. Many categories are displayed: photography, drawing, painting, group effort and the singular point of view; blue ribbons, honorable green.

Back in my room, I thumbed through the WNC catalogue to see what things are offered on the side of a mountain in Carson City. Art, and Automotive Mechanics. Computer Applications and Construction. Emergency Medical Services and English. Machine Tool Technology and Mathematics. Nursing and Welding. Music – Applied, Ensemble, General. Very Cool. I read about the continuing education classes Linda mentioned – Aviation, Crafts, Dance, Fine Arts, Investments, Motorcycle Riding, Solar Energy, Truck Driving, Web Design. Learn to dance, learn to fly, learn to ride a bike, drive a truck, design a site. Possibilities. There’s even College for Kids – Anime Cartooning, Babysitting Certification, Computer Building, CPR.

If you’re not looking for a class, drive up that mountain anyway; the Jack C Davis Observatory is open to the Public every Saturday night. From there, you can see the stars. And in those three galleries (the current exhibition runs through May 4), you can see the possibilities. Just like all those promising artists, and Keith, and Linda.

Western Nevada College, Carson City Campus, 2201 West College Parkway, Carson City, Nevada 89703,

About the Observatory. The 2,800-square-foot facility has three telescopes inside the building, one 16″, one 14″ and one 10″, plus a small radio telescope. One is equipped with a spectrograph, which can collect data from the stars. Outside the building is a robo-dome with a fourth telescope for studying the sun, including solar prominences that eject off the edges of the sun. All of the telescopes have cameras. The computers and telescopes are connected to a large overhead TV screen and a plasma TV screen. The observatory is open to the public on Saturday evenings throughout the year. The Western Nevada Astronomical Society hosts “Star Parties” Saturdays from sundown until 11 p.m. A star party is a gathering of people who share a common interest in astronomy. The society may schedule additional star parties for astronomical events like solar or lunar eclipses or meteor showers. For more information, please visit the WNAS web site at