Due to construction, Museum parking may be limited at the time of your visit. Look for additional parking in free or metered spaces along nearby streets.

Annual Report 2019


In a year of reflection, we also looked forward to embracing the future. Much of the work accomplished in 2019 informed decisions that honored established community connections while embracing long-term growth.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and First Lady Kathy Sisolak commemorated the opening of Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern as Honorary Dinner Chairs. With over 300 guests in attendance, Governor Sisolak recognized the Museum for its dedication to education and its contributions to the artistic heritage of the state. The Museum was the only venue in the western United States to host the exhibition which explored how O’Keeffe crafted her signature style and artistic legacy. 

“This Museum is a cornerstone of the Nevada community, a welcoming environment for learning, creative expression and experiences, and the exchange of diverse ideas and perspectives.”

– Governor Steve Sisolak

Governor Sisolak, First Lady Kathy Sisolak and family review the exhibition with Wanda Corn, Curator and Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor Emerita in Art History at Stanford University

America’s Art, Nevada’s Choice:
Community Selections from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The O’Keeffe exhibition was not the only exhibition to generate mass public attention. Promoting a community-wide vote with billboards and lawn signs, people of all ages cast votes for three of five notable artworks on loan from the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Unveiled by longtime donor and Lifetime Trustee Kristen Avansino, the winners on view were Childe Hassam’s The South Ledges, Appledore, 1913; Ryder’s House, 1933, by Edward Hopper; and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hibiscus with Plumeria, 1939. Presentation of America’s Art, Nevada’s Choice: Community Selections from the Smithsonian American Art Museum was exclusively sponsored by the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative and the E. L. Wiegand Foundation.

Five artworks from the Smithsonian American Art Museum were presented for a community vote.

Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Cultural Gathering

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony came together with the Museum at the Estelle J. Kelsey Hands ON! Second Saturday to celebrate Reawakening the Great Basin: A Native American Arts and Cultural Gathering, an event celebrating Native American art, culture, tradition and community. The event welcomed several established and emerging Native American artists and performers from across the region and featured basket weaving, Tule duck decoys, hand game demonstrations, Language and Culture Youth Storytellers, Indian tacos, hands-on art projects, gallery talks, and storytelling.

Children of all ages participated in Reawakening the Great Basin

Community Celebrates Jack Malotte

As guests participated in the Gathering, they also had an opportunity to view The Art of Jack Malotte. A beloved and established Nevada artist, Malotte’s artworks celebrate the landscapes of the Great Basin, with a unique focus on contemporary political issues faced by Native people seeking to protect and preserve access to their lands. Malotte’s wry humor is infused into his work, even as he delves into subject matter that is sometimes serious and sobering. The exhibition was accompanied by a book published in conjunction with the exhibit.

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Zhi Lin and the Chinese Railroad Workers of the Sierra Nevada

Guests faced West from the Nightingale Sky Room during a recitation of the names of over 800 deceased Chinese railroad workers who raced to complete the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. The program was scheduled between 2:27 pm and 2:47 pm—the exact time 150 years ago that the Golden Spike was hammered into the last rail at Promontory, Utah. The recital followed a discussion by artists Zhi Lin and Hung Liu whose artworks respond to the sacrifices of Chinese workers during this time in history. The program was presented in conjunction with Zhi Lin: Chinese Railroad Workers of the Sierra Nevada. Lin is part of a growing group of artists and scholars working to weave their stories into America’s broader historical narrative.

Artists Hung Liu and Zhi Lin

2019 NV STEAM Conference welcomes Laurel Roth Hope

Laurel Roth Hope, an artist and former park ranger with a focus on natural resource conservation, opened the keynote address for the NV STEAM Conference reminding teachers about human intervention and its impact on the natural world. Over 300 educators from through Nevada gathererd for the event, hosted in partnership with the Desert Research Institute’s Science Alive program. Supported by the Nevada Department of Education, the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology, the STEM Advisory Council, and the NV STEAM Subcommittee, the annual Conference aspires to build a coalition of thinkers who embrace the intersection of art and science.

Teachers from throughout the state participated in workshops designed for STEAM education practices

Reaccreditation is Awarded by the American Alliance of Museums

The Museum was awarded reaccreditation by the American Alliance of Museums in June, 2019. This proud accomplishment means the Museum continues to meet national standards and best practices for U. S. Museums and remains a member of a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence. Through a rigorous process of self-assessment and review by its peers, the Museum has shown itself to be a good steward of its resources held in the public trust and remains committed to a philosophy of institutional growth.

Trustees Approve Expansion Plans

After four years of site and program analysis combined with a rigorous exercise in cost modeling, the Board of Trustees approved schematic design for expansion of the Museum’s site in downtown Reno. The design introduces an Education and Research Wing to increase access to the Museum’s extensive art, archive, and library collections, adding opportunities for engagement beyond the current footprint. The new wing doubles current capacity to serve pre-K to 12th grade students, educators participating in professional development, and scholars undertaking academic research. Designed by Will Bruder Architects, the 42,000 square-foot expansion complements the iconic black sculptural form and distinctive material character of the original building.

Architectural rendering of the proposed Education and Research Wing


The Museum organized numerous projects that introduced new ideas and expanded our understanding of peoples and cultures across the world.

Rennie’s Mural Fills the Atrium

When Reko Rennie (Gamilaroi/Gamilaraay people) climbed a scaffold to execute Always Was, Always Will Be, a large-scale mural that soars through the atrium, it was clear that the immersive gesture would further introduce diverse cultures. Merging traditional diamond-shaped designs, hand-drawn symbols and repetitive patterning to subvert romantic notions of Aboriginal identity, Rennie often uses camouflage patterns to reference the ways in which Aboriginal people have had to hide, blend and conceal their identity. Presented as part of the Robert S. and Dorothy J. Keyser Art of the Greater West initiative, Rennie’s installation serves as a reminder that Australia was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

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The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles from the Deborah and Dennis Scholl Collection

The Museum’s exploration of Australia also included The Inside World: Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Memorial Poles from the Deborah and Dennis Scholl Collection. Introducing works by some of the most respected contemporary artists working in Australia today, the exhibition presented memorial poles traditionally created as the final point in Aboriginal mortuary rites. As part of the Debra and Dennis Scholl Distinguished Speaker Series, the Museum hosted Aboriginal artists Barayuwa Mununggurr and Gunybi Ganambarr from Buku-Larrnggay; Henry Skerritt, Curator of Indigenous Arts of Australia at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia; and Will Stubbs, Director of Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre. This important discussion encouraged ongoing cultural exchange as related to the Robert S. and Dorothy J. Keyser Art of the Greater West initiative.

Artists Barayuwa Mununggurr and Gunybi Ganambarr from Buku-Larrnggay.

Edi Rama: WORK

Currently serving his second term as Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama views art as an essential element to a functional society. Rama’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Edi Rama: WORK included a series of new drawings created on documents and notes that Rama creates during meetings and phone calls, as well as ceramic sculptures and a floor-to-ceiling wallpaper that emulates the wallpaper in his office at the Ministry in Tirana. Rama’s drawings and ceramic sculptures have developed in close parallel with his career as a politician.

Edi Rama; Kate Marshall, Leitenant Governor, State of Nevada; and Jeremy Higginbotham, Trustee, Nevada Museum of Art

Las Vegas and an International Architectural Competition

With an eye on statewide expansion, the Museum launched an architectural competition to conceptualize a stand-alone museum for the community of Las Vegas. The Museum’s Architectural Search and Selection Committee invited select studios from London, New York, Mexico City, Tokyo, Paris, Chicago, Los Angeles, Santiago, and Oslo to participate in a complex and visionary request for qualifications. Two candidates were ultimately chosen for the final phase of the competition. Although the Museum has paused these efforts due to COVID-19 and the rebuilding of the economy of Las Vegas, both finalists – Adjaye Associates and Johnston Marklee – continue to support the vision for an expanded campus in southern Nevada.

The Center Acquires the Archive for the Land Art Generator Initiative

The Center for Art + Environment acquired the extensive archives of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), a series of international design competitions envisioned by Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry for creation of sustainable energy and water-generating facilities by artists, architects, and other creatives. The archive catalogues several competitions that have been held in Dubai, New York, Santa Monica and Melbourne, along with other sites from around the globe. LAGI is one of the most followed sustainable design competitions in the world.

Covers for Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) briefing booklets, 2016 – 2018