2018 could be another big year for the arts in Carson City

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy kicked off the Levitt AMP Concert last year at the Brewery Arts Center.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy kicked off the Levitt AMP Concert last year at the Brewery Arts Center.

Carson City’s new art year got off to a great start.

On Jan. 2, the Levitt AMP grants were announced and for the third year in a row Carson City, through the Brewery Arts Center, was one of 15 cities chosen.

The $25,000 grant helps fund the BAC’s popular free outdoor summer concert series that last year kicked off with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and concluded with the Young Dubliners, which both attracted thousands of concert goers.

“We guestimated we had 2,800 at Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. We had people from 100 zip codes. The farthest away was Australia,” said Gina Lopez Hill, BAC executive director. “And the Young Dubliners was close.”

Hill is busy putting together the series schedule now, but she said the BAC is working with a videographer who has filmed Austin City Limits, the PBS concert series, to record the concerts for the first time, possibly for broadcast on public television.

“We want to feature Carson City on a national level as a music scene,” said Hill.

The BAC 10-part concert series isn’t the only big event in town in 2018.

In May and June, Carson City will host a series of events funded by the National Endowment of the Arts.

The Big Read is centered around “True Grit,” the Charles Portis novel that tells the story of a young girl, Mattie Ross, who seeks to avenge her father’s murder with the help of Rooster Cogburn, a man she thinks has true grit.

There will be about 30 separate events, said Mark Salinas, director, Arts & Culture, Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority, who applied for the grant and is organizing the series.

There will be reader groups and events including a Mandarin class, inspired by one of the book’s characters, behind the scenes tour of the Nevada State Museum, and a number of moments featuring the 20-foot long rattlesnake with eyepatch built for the Nevada Day Parade by Kathy Rush, access services librarian, Carson City Library.

“He’ll be the mascot for events,” said Salinas. “We’re doing a quickdraw competition. We’re hiring costumed gunslingers for a quick draw drawing class.”

Salinas has other things going on, including an official unveiling this month of the city’s first piece of public art, “Inside the Mind of da Vinci” by Carson City artist Mischell Riley, which is now installed outside the Carson City Community Center.

Another may be a Mardi Gras-themed event. And Salinas is working on creating a grant for individual artists and creating the city’s public art policy and procedures.

The BAC will be just as busy. In addition to the concert series, Beatles Flashback, a tribute band, is performing Jan. 20 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was last year.

The BAC will host an evening of divas in April 7 as its main fundraising event, replacing its winter wine and jazz event.

“We’re inviting five to six of the area’s best singers,” said Hill, in jazz, blues, musical theater and other genres who will be accompanied by the Jeff Leep Orchestra.

The BAC’s Celtic series fourth season is in full swing and continues through May. The Proscenium Players haven’t announced their season yet, but Hill said it would include “Love Letters,” a two-person play written by A.R. Gurney.


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