Public art moves into private places |

Public art moves into private places

Pat Patera

Original art, traditionally commissioned for public spaces, is edging into master planned communities throughout Reno and Sparks.

“As a city invests in its infrastructure, you see developers follow suit,” says Christine Fey, arts and culture manager for the City of Reno.

She cites the lifelike bronze sculptures just installed at Sierra Summit.

And the 18 bronze deer Montreux commissioned of Michael Boyce at Animal Artistry in the late 1990s. “The owners are avid outdoorsmen,” explains Rob Nichols, managing partner.

When the city completes a compilation of public artists, Somersett will choose art for two parks within the development, says Michelle Attaway, marketing director.

The Reno Arts and Culture Commission helps developers find the perfect piece. ArrowCreek installed three large monumental sculptures, says Turkey Stremmel, owner of Stremmel Gallery, and member of the Public Art


Each was specific to a site: Michael Todd’s sculpture in metals stands at the entry. Randall Shiroma’s terrazzo piece marks a median. Melvin Schuler’s redwood-and-copper creation graces a park.

Damonte Ranch is also creating parks that will feature art, says Fey, adding that city ordinance Title 22 requires 2 percent of the construction budget for parks must go toward public art.

The latest commissioned piece greets people driving into a master planned community in Sparks. Pioneer Meadows Development LLC commissioned the work by Laddie John Dill for the Pioneer Meadows subdivision.

At the project’s inception, a landscape architect was given the name Pioneer Meadows and asked to interpret the look. “To me it meant transition, movement,” says Barbara Hatch, who took on the job.

Hatch drafted several designs, the Reno Public Arts Commission advised the project’s designers on how to advertise for public art, the development put out a call for public artists, and then selected the final piece.

“The collection is based on plant forms indigenous to the desert and chaparral of Northern Nevada,” said Dill, who used pieces of cor-ten steel, which rusts to an earthen reddish-brown hue.

The entry monument, says Hatch, features water that moves, screens that cast moving shadows, and a rolling turf.

The monument look is carried through in the single-family areas, using the same rock, metal medallion look and meadow grass that blows in the wind.

“The vision is incorporating art into the vision,” says Hatch. “The more this is done, the more it will give Reno and Sparks a presence.”

But why hire an international sculptor to decorate the desert?

“Our goal is to have a public art component in Sparks,” says Cindy Pratte, director of marketing at Lennar Homes, Barker Coleman, and Lennar Communities. “It’s about our duty as developers to develop in the highest, best use.”

“Laddie had the right attitude and approach,” she adds. “His organic look was in sync with the feel of the area.”

Pioneer Meadows will contain 11 villages of varying densities, with potentially 2100 homesites on 640 acres, says Pratte.

The development includes a proposed school site, business park, and retail component, to be developed by Donohue Shrieber, contingent upon zoning approval.


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