AAT has been very much anticipating September 2019 for the last few months! Is it because this brand was founded in September? Nope, that happened in October. Is that when we will be publishing our interview with Hollywood golden boy, Keanu Reeves? No, although that would be pretty cool. September 2019 is the month in which an exciting event will be taking place in our community. This event is one that could leave a major lasting impact on our town, both aesthetically and culturally, for many years to come!
This week, we’re joined by Catherine Wines. Catherine is a local architect who has been very proactively involved with several things around the community for many years. Catherine was part of the team that brought Elko its fifty-six beautiful cowboy boot statues found throughout the city! However, today we have her here with us to talk about something exciting happening in just a few short weeks (at the time of this feature’s publication)—The Elko Mural Expo! Muralists and artists from all around the world will be coming to our area to use their gifts to bring out the beauty of Elko’s culture and surroundings!
Catherine, we are very eager to talk with you and hear more about the expo; however, can we please get to know a little bit about you first? How long have you lived in the Elko area and how long have you been involved with its arts?
“I am a native of Elko County. I have lived here my entire life except when I went away for college, and the Wines family has been here for over six generations. I’ve always wanted to be an architect. After high school, I went to UNLV for architecture and then the University of Arizona for grad school. Once I was licensed, I moved back to Elko, even though I promised myself I would never move back to a place where it snows!
“In 2015, I was paying rent out of an office when I realized that was crazy, and I could be paying myself rent! So, I bought the Taber Building, which is a historic building here in town on which I’m trying to do a historic restoration.
“Other than working on my own building, I do a lot of commercial design projects, really, all over the state! I’ve worked in fourteen out of the seventeen counties here in Nevada. As a rural architect, I’ll travel where some of the other architects from the bigger cities won’t travel.
“In 2009, there was a group of us like-minded people who got together to form a group to support the arts. We ended up talking to the city planner at the time, and he suggested we make an arts and culture advisory board to the city council. We liked the idea of the arts having a seat at the government table, and I was elected to sit on the board. The purpose of the board was to act as advisers to the city council when it came to arts and cultural issues in town.
“One of the first and most important things we did was get a section in the city’s master plan. This plan directs the city on how to increase the attention of arts and culture in Elko. We were really proud of that! Arts may not be a city necessity like roads or a sewer system, but it is vital when it comes to achieving a quality of life that we’re all looking for.
“The first art project we did was the World Trade Center Memorial at City Hall, which has a piece of an I-beam from the World Trade Center in it! This piece helped us win over a lot of skeptics in the community who didn’t want Elko to become “another San Francisco.” We weren’t interested in creating any weird or controversial art; we wanted to beautify and make the city more interesting.”
Now, Catherine, let’s talk about this mural expo! How did it come to be, and what can we expect from it?
“In 2018, I got an email from Art Spot in Reno, a non-profit that wants to spread art around the state. They were wondering if they could come put on a mural expo here in Elko! We said yes; it was a no brainer! We’ve been working with them, and this September (26th-29th), we’re going to have the event! We have thirty-six artists that are going to paint on fifty-five walls in Downtown Elko! One of the artists is coming from Spain, and he’s one of the most famous muralists in Europe right now. These pieces are probably going to be in magazines because these artists have followings! There’s going to be gallery exhibits, live music, a documentary movie projected on the back of the Henderson building, a specialty wine walk, and Elko Sanitation is even going to bring dumpsters for the kids to paint! We’re really excited about it; it’s going to be awesome!”
Catherine, what’s been your observation of the art scene here in Elko? Do you think our community is ready for something as ambitious as this expo, and what are some of the benefits of cultivating our local art culture?
“When we first formed the arts and culture board, there was a strong artistic community here in Elko, but it wasn’t really that public. In the last ten years, we have really been able to acquire a little more recognition for the arts in total and give it a public face. Organically, Elko has really started to gain a lot of attention when it comes to the arts. This makes Elko a place that’s a real destination for many people, and it adds real economic value to our city!”
Fantastic! Is there anything else you’d like to share before we let you get back to working on all the preparations?
This expo is for the community! Watching these muralists paint is such a fascinating experience. Both adults and kids are invited to view and participate; there’s going to be something for everybody!
You can stay caught up on everything going on around here at AAT by checking out our “Stay Connected” page! Make sure you never miss a feature!
See you around, Elko!
Written by: Anthony Crosby
Edited by: Nadara Merrill