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We Are the Folk!

By Rebecca Snetselaar, Folklife Specialist, Nevada Arts Council

Before there was folklore, there was lore, something that was taught.

The English word “folklore” appeared in 1846, describing “traditional beliefs and customs of the common people” that were shared by word of mouth. As a field of academic study, it focused at first on oral traditions and was associated with the study of language and literature.

By the middle of the 20th Century people in America had come to understand folk music, folk dance, folk tales, folk art, and folk medicine as old-fashioned or primitive art forms to be preserved intact as unchanging artifacts of cultural heritage.

Meanwhile American folklorists – scholars who study and document folklore – were coming to new understandings about what they were studying. Their interests had begun to shift from the “folklore” itself to the way it was passed on, and to the cultural communities in which it was shared.

The word “folklife” came into common usage in the 1960s to describe the living traditions, activities, skills, and products (such as handicrafts) of any particular people or group that are […]


The Nevada Touring Initiative (NTI) Traveling Exhibition Program delivers high quality visual arts exhibits to communities throughout the state for an affordable fee. The cost includes rental of the artwork, installation and pick-up, insurance, and publicity and educational materials. NTI exhibits features an array of subjects and art forms, ranging from traditional Washoe basketry to landscape painting and contemporary sculpture.

NAC Welcomes two new Board Members

Governor Brian Sandoval has appointed Joe O’Neill from Las Vegas and Gail Rappa from Tuscarora to the NAC Board.

In August, Governor Brian Sandoval appointed Joe O’Neill, Theatre Program Specialist for the City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs, to the NAC Board. O’Neill replaced Phil Hooper, who is now attending the Divinity School in Berkeley, CA and pursuing a path of service in the Episcopal Church. Read More

The Governor appointed Gail Rappa, a professional artist, instructor at the Great Basin College in Elko, and founder/president of the Friends of Tuscarora & Independence Valley, in October. She replaced Deon Reynolds who stepped down from the board earlier this fall to focus on his photography.

Read more about NAC Board


The touch and feel of art, in the traditions of handcrafted Western quilters and craftsmen, are the catalyst for the works Sarah Lillegard. A Nevada Arts Council 2015 Visual Arts Fellow. Lillegard uses fibers embroidery and photo transfers to focus on belonging, self and faith. Saturday, Oct. 18, Lillegard hosts a free workshop to teach an introduction to natural dye, a crash course in using organic matter to dye fabric, thread and yarns.

The event is from noon to 3 p.m. at The Holland Project, 140 Vesta St in Reno. Guests will learn tips and tricks to explore the age-old dye process and experiment with household, natural and easy to find items to create their own amazing projects. Participants will leave with a resources sheet, a dye card and some dye samples. Reservations are required and may be made by contacting .

Lillegard is a mixed-media artist who comes from a family that made art together. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Walla Walla University, College Place, WA., and has since worked within the Reno community co-founding the Go […]



Sue Coleman, one of Nevada’s preeminent Washoe basket weavers, presents the final lecture-demonstration of The Work of Artists series on Thursday, May 8 from 3:30–4:30p.m. in room 3100 of the Legislative Building in Carson City. A collaborative initiative of the Nevada Arts Council and SENarts, The Work of Artists is designed to provide an opportunity for artists to engage with community members and those working in and visiting the Nevada State Legislature at 401 S. Carson St. All presentations offered by The Work of Artists are free and open to the public.

“The women in Coleman’s family are renowned for precise weaving and decoration on their traditional willow baskets,” siad Susan Boskoff, Nevada Arts Council executive director. “Her ancestors, like many Washoe people, moved between Lake Tahoe in the summers and the Dresslerville/Carson Valley area in the winters.”

Coleman’s presentation will introduce the audience to various types of baskets, including the burden and gift baskets, winnowing tray and cradleboard. Emphasizing the complex process of basket-making, from collecting and preparing plant materials to the progressive weaving steps necessary to complete each basket, […]


When the first concert of the UNLV Chamber Music Series begins Thursday, among the artists celebrating the birthday of Claude Debussy will be Nevada Arts Council fellowship award recipient Jennifer Grim.

An accomplished flutist, Grim received a 2103 Artist Fellowship from the Nevada Arts Council and spearheaded efforts to earn a grant for the university’s Chamber Music Series. The first installment is a tribute to Debussy, honoring his 150th birthday. The event features UNLV Department of Music faculty and guests including Timothy Hoft, David Loeb and Mykola Suk on piano. Linda Lister is soprano, Andrew Smith plays cello, Marina Sturm is on clarinet, Kim Glennie plays harp and Robert Taylor, viola.

Grim has performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, for a sold-out New York debut concert of the award-winning contemporary ensemble Proteus. She appeared at Lincoln Center’s Great Performances. She recently played in an acclaimed performance of Brian Ferneyhough’s Superscriptio for solo piccolo at the Yale Center for British Art.

Grim has given master classes across the country, specializing in both solo and chamber music. Among the institutions at which she has […]



Carson City, Nev. Carson City’s vibrant arts and cultural sector opens its doors to the public to celebrate Nevada’s 2011 Inauguration. Participants can enjoy a wealth of activities—from visual arts and history exhibits, demonstrations by traditional artists representing Nevada’s ranching and Native American communities, and dance and musical presentations—to creative activities for children of all ages and unique shopping opportunities.

The Nevada Arts Council has assisted the Inaugural Committee in developing activities for the day and scheduling artists for the stroll and showcase. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the arts in general, and specifically, to focus on the breadth of arts and cultural organizations in our Capital City,” said Susan Boskoff, Arts Council director.


Nevada Arts Council – 716 N. Carson Street (south side entrance)
The exhibit “Exploring Boundaries,” featuring photographs by Las Vegas artist Linda Alterwitz, is on display in the Arts Council’s Carson City gallery. Alterwitz’s multi-layered images of scientific and natural landscapes are subtle collages that captivate. […]

Exploring Boundaries,an exhibit by Linda Alterwitz

Carson City, Nev. The Nevada Arts Council presents “Exploring Boundaries,” an exhibit by Linda Alterwitz, in its Carson City office from December 6, 2010 through January 28, 2011 as part of the Office eXhibition Series (OXS). Using both scientific and natural landscapes, Las Vegas multi-media artist Linda Alterwitz, explores the human connection to our natural environment.

Alterwitz’s photographs are multi-layered, similar to collages, combining images of nature and landscapes with less obvious medical references. Alterwitz digitally manipulates and layers together images to create large-scale primarily color photographs by using both high-tech digital cameras and low-tech toy cameras, creating works that invite the viewer in for closer examination.

Alterwitz earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Denver. She has exhibited her work in Las Vegas, Nevada and Ohio. Her work has been included in several group exhibitions including NYU, New York, NY; The Pen and Brush Gallery, New York, NY; The Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts, Pagosa Springs, CO; SilverEye for Photography, Pittsburg, PA; Photoplace Gallery, Middlebury, […]


Carson City, Nevada. Seven individuals and organizations will receive a 30th Annual Governor’s Arts Award at a public reception and ceremony in Las Vegas this April.

The Nevada Arts Council and the Governor’s Office present these honors for outstanding and enduring contributions to Nevada through artistic achievement and service to the arts.

The 30th Annual Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony is scheduled for April 1, 2010 at the World Market Center’s ‘Worldview on Sixteen’ ballroom. Tickets to the 30th anniversary celebration will be $30 – thanks to the support from a number of foundations and corporations including Cirque du Soleil, Newmont Mining Corporation, Barrick Gold Corporation, NV Energy, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and Metro Arts Council of Southern Nevada.

Invitations will be mailed after the first of the year and posted on the Arts Council’s website at

The 2010 recipients of the Governor’s Arts Awards are:

Ellen Hopkins, Carson City – Excellence in the Arts
Thai Cultural Arts Association, Las Vegas – Excellence in Folk and Traditional Art
Nevada School of the Arts, Las Vegas – Leadership in the Arts: Education
Patricia Harris, Las […]


The Nevada Arts Council presents “Firewalls,” a series of collagraphs and screenprints by Sparks artist, Candace Nicol. “Firewalls” explores several aspects of the human condition – the psychological constraints we assign ourselves and others, the ideologies that shape our viewpoints, and the complexities of multicultural relationships.

Irresolvable Tension by Candace Nicol”Firewalls”is on display through December 29 as part of the Arts Council’s Office eXhibition Series (OXS). On Thursday, November 13, the Arts Council will host an artist’s talk and reception with Candace Nicol from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Candace Nicol’s work is a fusion of printmaking, painting and digital photography. Her multilayered compositions present a fresh viewpoint on relationships, social identities and societal issues.

Nicol works out of her studio in Sparks and is a co-founder of the Northern Nevada Printmakers’ Conspiracy. Nicol’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and is in the permanent collections of the Boise Art Museum, Corcoran College of Art and Design, Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper at Rutgers University, Southern Graphics Council Archives, The Kinsey Institute, National Taiwan Museum of Fine […]