Brewery Arts Center: Keeping the arts alive in times of COVID and beyond (sponsored)

Courtesy: Brewery Arts Center

A brief history

The Brewery Arts Center (BAC) was founded in 1975 by a group of artists yearning for a space of their own. After an intense grassroot effort, they raised the money to purchase the Historic Carson Brewery Company, one of Nevada’s oldest buildings, and on June 9, 1979 their vision of an Art Center became a reality and the Brewery Arts Center was born.

That first vision included studio space for visual artists, two galleries, a small black box theater, and a Grand Ballroom Exhibition Hall. Today, the tradition of creating space for art continues and the BAC now encompasses three historic buildings on two city blocks in Carson City’s Historic West Side including a 250 seat Performance Hall.

The organization is privately funded through donations, grants and earned income. The facility provides a home for 15 other non-profit organizations while several dozen visual artists use the various art spaces seven days a week.

Courtesy: Brewery Arts Center


VISION - The future we truly desire

The vision of the Brewery Arts Center is to embrace and grow artists and the artistic community in Carson City, recognizing our responsibility to be a catalyst for economic and educational growth and community collaborations by developing a creative, active, and engaged community.

MISSION - Our purpose

We are a non-profit organization that enriches the quality of life by cultivating arts and culture for all.

Principal Programs (Pre-COVID)

The principal programs of the BAC consist of concerts, exhibitions, and dance and theater performances, classes, and outreach. The Levitt AMP Carson City free summer concert series is a family-friendly event that takes place every Saturday night over 10 consecutive weeks.

Since 2016, we have presented Grammy nominated artists, such as Big Bad VooDoo Daddy and The Original Wailers, on the same stage as local emerging artists to create a high-quality, barrier-free event that uses live music to build community. In 2019, we presented Grammy winners Terrance Simien Zydeco Experience and Flor de Toloache. This series emphasizes different musical genres each week to promote inclusivity and awareness and has become a beloved tradition for Carson City residents and visitors.

Courtesy: Brewery Arts Center


In the Fall of 2014, the BAC created a traditional Celtic Music Series to cultivate an audience for the Irish Music genre. In the years since its inception, the nine-month series has exceeded expectations, growing an audience that comes from all over the region - and our musicians come from all over the world! We have created a Celtic Music Destination at the Brewery Arts Center for both musicians and Celtic Fans.

We fill our calendar with opportunities that arise from touring artists such as The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra as well as local musicians to present genres that include bluegrass, rock, classical, rockabilly and jazz. Our Grand Ballroom is available to visual artists to show their work in exhibitions.

We partner with several theatrical, film, and dance groups, including Proscenium Players, Inc., Bruka, TheatreWorks, Reno Little Theater, Carson City Classic Cinema Club, Sierra Nevada Ballet, KNVC Community Radio, Youth Theater Carson City, Western Nevada Performing Arts Company, and Wild Horse Children’s Theater, to allow them a professional setting and infrastructure to perform their work.

The BAC offers classes for children and adults in painting, drawing, pottery, photography, Zentangle, improvisational acting, music, and swing dance. Off campus, we supplement art in the elementary schools where we teach drawing, music, crochet, and painting.

We also have an innovative partnership with the Juvenile Detention Center where our teachers go into the detention center twice per week and give art and improv classes to the detainees; which has delivered overwhelmingly positive results.

Finally, our Art in the Park program enriches the lives of children who might not ever go to the BAC due to financial or transportation constraints. Each summer, we create a “pop-up” art center in an area of Carson City that is designated low income and at-risk by the Carson City School District to offer free arts programming to anyone who would like to participate taught by art education professionals.

Courtesy: Brewery Arts Center


Safely fulfilling our mission during COVID

Like every organization in the beginning of the COVID-19 shut down, the Brewery Arts Center struggled to fulfill their mission. They immediately switched the onsite classes to online, cancelled all concerts and events and watched to see how the summer, their busiest time, would go.

When it became clear there would be no gathering anytime soon, the BAC got creative and eventually received national recognition for their Flatbed Concert Series. With a flatbed trailer provided by Miles Construction, the Brewery Arts Center created a “Flatbed Concert Series” in which they brought live music directly to the people of this city by placing musicians on the flatbed truck and driving them through almost every neighborhood in Carson City over 20 times in the past 18 months.

Volunteers accompanied the flatbed, handing out art supplies to children for at-home projects. This project allowed people to come out to their lawns or come to their windows and enjoy the live music with their families, creating memories and allowing professional musicians to finally begin working their craft again.

Musicians are a population who have been hit particularly hard financially during this pandemic. In addition to the Flatbed Concerts, the BAC hosted family friendly drive-in movies and events on their campus allowing families choices for safe activities each week. These events were nostalgic to many as the sound was broadcast through their car stereo just as in a classic drive-in theater.

As the world returns to normalcy and we begin gathering again, it is important to remember what we learned during this unusual time.

Historically, music has the power to heal society and bring people together during difficult times and the BAC embraces that responsibility to make sure everyone has access to the arts.

As gatherings are re-introduced into our society, the BAC hopes to achieve the following:

  1. Promote health and wellness by safely experiencing live music and art together, providing the arts and culture experiences that expand horizons, bring people together in ways that create opportunities for meaningful conversation, challenge assumptions, and ultimately enrich our daily lives.
  2. Utilize music and art as a vehicle to build community.
  3. Encourage a sense of levity, fun, and hope during these challenging times. The projects created during and after COVID are designed to offer a safe escape to our society that is now in recovery.
  4. Give the entire community a barrier free opportunity to participate in the arts which is essential to inspire the human spirit.

The Levitt AMP Carson City free summer concert series will resume July 10, 2021. 

This article was provided by the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City. Plumas Bank sponsors this content.


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