It is said that the arts bring people together and expands our horizons. During a global pandemic, that has never been more fitting.
These days, people are tuning in to their streaming services to see live theater shows. They’re finding new music to listen to. They’re reading again. “Arts and culture helps us open our eyes and our hearts — to learn something new — and participate in a different way,” said Gina Lopez, executive director for the Brewery Arts Center. “This way of living has been helping us appreciate arts and culture more.”
Locals and tourists alike view the Brewery Arts Center as the heartbeat of the Carson City community. Events, performances and the Levitt Amp Concert Series have all been catalysts to bringing mostly free programming to Carson City. These offerings served as key event drivers in times of normalcy. And as with all organizations, the Brewery Arts Center had to pivot when the coronavirus hit.
Today, their Flatbed Concert Series sends live music throughout all Carson City neighborhoods on a weekly basis. All you need to do is visit their Facebook page or website for the route to capture the tunes. It’s a safe and refreshing way to physically distance from your neighbors while finding a little extra joy.
Public art is another delightful experience to take in while walking Carson City and the Brewery Arts Center campus. There are five art installations to enjoy, plus the harmony sculpture park where you can tinker on instruments to feed your soul. In fact, it’s Lopez’s favorite thing to do when she needs to get out of the house for a few hours. “I love getting on my bicycle and looking at all the public art in the area. The art under our freeway is one of my favorites. One of them was created by a local high school student,” she said.
Lopez has been working at the Brewery Arts Center for more than five years, also serving as a volunteer for six. “I was a dancer and performer at the Brewery Arts Center as a kid, became a professional dancer and then moved back to raise my own children and be near my mom.” Her goal is to create an arts center that is so good, people can’t help but support it.
“Most people don’t know that we’ve had Grammy award-winning and award-winning performers in our community, providing these experiences for free,” said Lopez. “We strive to be open and accessible to everyone. We want to be void of any barriers for the people and communities we serve.”
The Brewery Arts Center has its own set of history. The campus is the place where Nevada’s longest-operating brewery was established. In 1860, John Wagner started the brewery during the rush to Virginia City. It is where Tahoe Beer was born in 1913, and where bottling water from the Carson Hot Springs helped to expand the business. When it was liquidated in 1948, it was the longest-running brewery in the state and one of Nevada’s oldest businesses after 88 years of continuous operation.
What next? Lopez and team want to innovate and create a photo mosaic mural, an endeavor that will take 9,000 selfie photos to culminate into an installation that is a reflection of the community.
Next time you’re in the mood for a day trip, a near-cation or a road trip, there’s plenty of arts and culture to soak up in Carson City. Wear your mask, open your mind and take in the arts atmosphere.