NADA gras at the Morris
Art communities made of artists committed to Reno and Sparks
I’ve lived in Reno on and off for the past eight years. When I first moved to the Biggest Little City, it was for college and I focused my attention on the university and collegiate activities. I left Reno in 2009 and moved back in 2012. I was impressed with the changes the city made. This city wasn’t the Reno I left behind. I’ve always knew that Reno hid a group of talented artists somewhere. As soon as I left town, these artists were finally released.
As I’ve watched this art movement blossom, I’ve participated in the growth. In demonstrations. In critical bike mass parades around the city. In an artists’ co-op. This winter, I started dating a guy who belongs to the Burning Man community. One out first date, he took me to the Morris Burner Hotel. I was a little hesitant to step inside the Fourth Street business- I never been to Burning Man so I always thought so-called “burners” were people who were on permanent acid trips and ran around naked whatever chance they get. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised, I was greeted with several hugs and smiles. I watched members of Control Burn spin fire poi around their heads. In a quick instant, I befriended a hotel resident who gave me a tour of the building. I walked from room to room, enjoying each uniqueness- the glittery Sparkle Pony Room to the majestic Goddess Room. Needless to say, I was entranced by that place and started to spend more of my free time there during the week.
It wasn’t until I moved back to Reno when I learned about its amazing art scene. We are so fortunate as residents of the Truckee Meadows to have great events like Artown (although, some may not agree). In 2007, in a turn against Artown, Erik Holland collected some friends together and put up their art pieces in rented rooms in the El Cortez Hotel. He called the collection “the Nada Dada,” nada for “nothing” and dada for the Dadaism movement in the 20th century. Since its birth, Nada Dada has expanded into a four-day summer long event where artists of every genre rent a room in a participating motels to show off their work. Each room is full of character and has something for everyone to experience. Last year’s Nada Dada Motel summer exhibit hosted rooms that focused on stars in the galaxy to the exploitation of little girls in prostitution and pornography.
Last year, the Nada Dada organizers decided to add another arm to the Dada body and created Nada Gras, a celebration that highlighted artists in the same fashion as its big sister does: inviting painters, writers, dreamers and the like to show off their work, just in a shorter amount of time. Gras correlated with the traditional New Orleans celebration of Mardi Gras- I think Reno will have the bigger of the parties this time around. This year, The Nada Dada organizers decided to work with the Morris Burner Hotel to host their event.
“It is a natural fit,” said James Dilworth. Dilworth is a Dada organizer and has been with the committee for the past three years. “These are two places where anything can happen. This is where creative exploration happens. So many minds and talents come together in one place and the best kind of magic happens.”
The Morris Burner Hotel will host Nada Gras Friday, March 7 through Sunday, March 9 (hours ares Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). I sat through its monthly planning meeting in the beginning of February, listening to the committee members speak about the great talent the weekend will be offering- fire dancers, live poetry and Spoken Word, local food trucks and of course, art in rented rooms. Because the Morris is a recent addition the Fourth Street artistic surge, the two are teaming up to host the hotel’s grand opening on March 8.
Nada Gras. Just another reason why I love Reno and why I’m happy to call this city my home.
This NADAgras event was March 7th to March 9th, 2014
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