The Brewery Arts Center is a Nevada non-profit organization founded in 1975 by a group of artists in search of a place to call their own. These artists raised money and purchased the old Carson Brewing Company building then owned by the Nevada Appeal and created an arts center complete with performance space, classrooms and a gallery. Through the years, the BAC went through ups, as they were able to purchase the Historic St. Theresa’s Church across the street from their main campus in 2000 and converted it to a 250 seat performance hall and downs, almost closing in 2014 but now sits on solid ground as the arts leader to the area and a hub for collaboration.
The BAC is guided by their mission, to enrich the quality of life by cultivating arts and culture for all. To fulfill this mission, it is important to adapt and grow with their community, complacency is dangerous territory for any arts organization. The BAC wholly believes that arts and cultural experiences expand horizons, bring people together in ways that create opportunities for meaningful conversation, challenge assumptions, and ultimately, enrich our daily lives. With those ideas as the backdrop, they applied for and won the Levitt AMP [Your city] grant back in 2016 and every year since. The Levitt AMP Concerts have now become one of the biggest programs of the BAC and dominate Carson City’s summer.
Sponsored in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a national funder of creative place making that empowers communities to inject new life into underused public spaces through free, outdoor concerts, the Levitt AMP Carson City Free Music Series has 10 free, family-friendly concerts to the public each summer on their two block campus. An important feature to these concerts is the diverse lineup of high caliber talent spanning genres such as Latin, Reggae, Soul/Pop and Celtic Rock.
“The diversity of the music presented is the most important aspect of the concerts as it serves two purposes” says BAC Executive Director Gina Lopez, “it exposes our audiences to new artists and new types of music and it represents all sectors of our community allowing us to see ourselves represented in a beautiful way”.
The Brewery Arts Center is grateful to have not only survived but thrived during these past two years. With last year’s support of our community, they created a Flatbed Concert Series in 2020, literally putting bands on a flatbed truck and driving them through every neighborhood in Carson City playing music and making safe experiences for all of Carson City while maintaining the social distancing and the health mandates required of the times. This was an effective way to use the arts to create a sense of normalcy and comfort to the people of the community. With the Flatbed Truck Concerts and weekly outdoor drive-in movies, they provided our community with safe options to nourish their internal need for arts and culture.
In 2021 they able to produce the family friendly Levitt AMP Carson City summer concert series on their campus for a series of 9 concerts although two of the concerts were postponed due to the fires and poor air quality. They eventually held all scheduled concerts and even created two more in an evacuation center for those escaping the fires. The hope of the evacuation concerts was to give those displaced a bit of comfort and joy during a very frightening and stressful time.
The tradition of growth and inclusivity continues with the Brewery Arts Center making a concerted effort to broaden its audience base by cultivating the next generation of arts patrons. In 2020, the BAC added to its board of directors, two youth advisory board members that are guiding the BAC as to how to make opportunities for participation from the younger generations. It is only through them that BAC will connect to the next generation on a meaningful level. To do this, they are focused on creating memorable experiences through interaction. Although this happens at the outdoor concerts and it is often achieved through participation in plays and classes that they offer they are taking this opportunity to use interactivity that connects us and put in the backdrop of a gallery setting with the new traveling exhibition space that opened earlier this year. They recently closed the first exhibition of Snoopy and the Red Baron, on loan from the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa that was visited by over 1000 people in a three month period and are currently in talks to bring in a new exhibition from the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. To have an exhibition of this magnitude in Carson City will be a big deal. It will draw people from all over, all ages and all demographic backgrounds. It is a perfect visual arts and interactive compliment during the Levitt AMP Carson City free summer concerts.
This year’s concerts begin on June 25 with the Brazilian band SambaDa that will bring the feel of carnival to the core of downtown Carson City. The concerts are every Saturday night at 7pm through Aug. 27 and feature Grammy nominated artists in reggae and blues as well as Nationally touring artists playing different genres such as Celtic Rock, Post-modern, Psychedelic Latin, and even Rock. Each headliner will have a local band opening for them giving local artists the opportunity to play on the Levitt stage for thousands of people.For the full line up and information about all the programs of the Brewery Arts Center, visit their website at breweryarts.org