Gertrude Stein once said,”there’s no there there,” about her hometown of Oakland, California.
Elko, Nevada, definitely has a "there there.” Long known as one of the top western towns in the US, it is quickly becoming an art town of note.
For 35 years, the Western Folklife Center’s annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering has filled the town with music, poetry, stories, dancing and workshops focused on the old and new West. In July, the town celebrates its Basque sheepherder culture with a Basque festival, and the oldest rodeo in the state, the Silver State Stampede.
Art and beauty are part of Elko’s heritage: natural beauty from its location on the Humboldt River and surrounded by the Ruby Mountains (often called the Alps of Nevada), and architectural beauty including the shallow, copper dome of its Neo-classical courthouse which gleams in the sunlight and can be seen from many parts of town. Elko’s Arts and Culture Advisory Council, however, continues to build on this legacy.
When the New York Port Authority offered pieces of the 9/11 rubble to cities and towns across America if they would incorporate the pieces into monuments, only five entities stepped up to the challenge of creating a perpetual remembrance. One of them was Elko which dedicated the sculpture Freedom on September 11, 2012.
Boots and Murals
In the past few years, the town has begun to fill up with boots … giant, painted cowboy boots … 56 to date.
And, in September, 2019, the council worked with Art Spot Reno to create the Elko Mural Expo, which, in five days with 43 local, state and international artists, painted the town a thousand colors. Here is a sampling of the 61 incredible murals:
|I'm in Elko, too ... come see me!|
|No ... come see me ... I'm bigger!|