just a girl trying to find her place

nevada museum of art

My parents, brother and I spent some time yesterday at the Nevada Museum of Art. There are half a dozen exhibits going on at any given time and they rotate through every few months. The last time I was there was in 2008, so of course, the exhibits have changed since then, with the exception of the sculptures on the roof. There are usually one or two exhibits in the museum you can photograph. This time around it’s Maurice Sendak’s 50 Years, 50 Works and Italian Baroque.

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There was full size replica of Max’s boat, along with quite a bit of original artwork from Maurice Sendak. Although he’s most famous for Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, he actually wrote a total of 16 books and illustrated quite a few more books for other authors.

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I loved seeing the drawings from his various books and learning about how he came to become an author and how much he loved books/reading. Now that I’ve switched to majoring in writing instead of journalism, I’ve been thinking about possible thesis topics (even though I have a LONG way to go) and children’s literature/illustration is on the short list of topics I’m interested in. I want to pick a good topic, one that is interesting and easily researched, but will also challenge me to go beyond my comfort zone and teach me things I don’t already know.

But this post is about art, not literature. It’s also not about thesis topics and things that aren’t happening for at two years.

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I’m so glad I was able to see this exhibit before it leaves on April 27th. If you’re reading this and live in Reno, get thee to the art museum between Wednesday and Saturday. You won’t be sorry.

The Baroque exhibit was a little less interesting to me, since I don’t particularly care for that period in history or that type of art, but I won’t deny there were some talented people making art in Italy during the 16th century.

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This was my favorite piece in the Baroque exhibit – the harlequin. The frame was embellished with angels and other pieces relative to what harlequins/court jesters did during that time period.

I can’t wait to go back to the museum when the exhibits rotate through and see what comes next.

Do you have an art museum in your city? Have you visited it before?

etsy treasury: hoppy easter

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Image via Scubamouse Studios Jr.

Check out my Hoppy Easter treasury here.

how to get a job in publishing

10001421_10100818208914956_7536681809363982104_nVia Matt Bell

redirection, or how i’m figuring life out

When I was taking classes to get my teaching credential, I learned about redirecting kids away from bad or inappropriate behavior. It’s really the only thing I learned about discipline or classroom management, and I believe it’s part of what made student teaching so difficult. Sure, I could have taught myself by reading books and online materials, but I’m not sure it would have helped.

Anyway, sometimes redirection needs to occur in life. We’re like a GPS system. When something isn’t right, we re-route and try again. I recently hit a pretty big roadblock and have had to re-route in a big way. I was not accepted into the graduate program for journalism at UNR. Although this was a crushing blow, it has caused me to rethink the direction I’m heading and what I try want to do with my life, especially career-wise.

In looking at other programs offered at the university, I nixed anything having to do with math, for obvious reasons. The English department is within the college of liberal arts here and they offer an MA in Writing. Graduates of this program go on to work in publishing, as published authors and more. Because I missed the deadlines to apply for fall, I will be a graduate special student for one more semester, taking classes in the English department and preparing to apply for the spring semester.

The thing about this setback is that I could have chosen to run home to my parents, but finding a job in Vegas isn’t really viable. Instead, I am choosing to stay in Reno and figure out what direction my life needs to take. Did I want to go home when I received that rejection letter? Absolutely. It was the second thing to cross my mind. Would that have solved anything? Not really. It would have solved the emotional stuff and made me feel better, but it wouldn’t have solved anything else.

Today, after talking with the director of the journalism school and getting to the nitty-gritty of the worst rejection of my life, I’ve officially decided to make the switch from journalism to English (writing). I am excited to pick classes for next semester. My summer will be spent reading and writing and exploring the craft.

Have you ever had to make a big change midway through your original plan? How did you handle it?

 

start your engines, startup row is taking off!

Walk down First Street toward Arlington and take a good look around. You may not notice it right away, but this is Startup Row. To your left, as you’re heading toward Chocolate Bar and Silver Peak, is 80 W. First St., home to BHeard, Crazy Tooth Studio and Inqiri.

Keep walking past Silver Peak and the movie theater and you’ll see Arlington Tower, home to Reno Collective, Pinoccio, Ustyme and Girlmade. All of these companies are doing innovative and groundbreaking things on a daily basis.

At the Reno Collective, you’ll find people working on everything from promoting their businesses to creating apps that allow people to spend more time together, even if it is via their iPhones. If you’re interested in video games, spending time with the guys at Crazy Tooth Studio is a surefire way to get you excited about the latest and greatest in casino games.

“Startup Row was created to promote awareness of companies in the downtown area. There are many spaces that are available and becoming available in the next year and it benefits the tech community to have density,” Gabriel Hopper, of Ustyme, said.

At Inqiri, you can learn how to use collective decision making to decide where your next vacation should be or what tile you should choose for your kitchen remodel, but be sure to keep an eye on your BHeard app so you can create change on the go.

Anchoring everything is the Reno Collective, which was started in 2009 by Colin Loretz and some of his friends, who were running their respective businesses out of coffee shops and living rooms.

Don Morrison, one of five co-owners at the Collective (as it’s affectionately known around town), feels Startup Row “is a really good identity for us to rally around and get behind. I think the term is overused but it gives us a brand, so the general public can understand there is an approximate physical location and a reason why there is this thing.”

That branding has been vital to all of the companies on Startup Row, but especially to BHeard, whose product is a social advocacy app designed for iPhone and Android operating systems. “Right now, social media is really all the advertising. Because we are a startup, our marketing budget is very limited,” said J’Neal Hachquet, Marketing Director of BHeard.

“Social media is critical as far as us building awareness and getting the word out about our social action application,” Hachquet said. Once BHeard has built that presence, they’ll be able to expand the brand and do more.

With all the tech growth happening in Reno right now, Reno locals and tourists might be wondering if Reno is trying to become the next Silicon Valley (or just a place that emulates the tech mecca).

Ben Hoffman, owner of Crazy Tooth Studio, a company that designs casino games, is a fan of all the tech growth happening in Reno. In fact, his company was one of the first to move into Startup Row, starting in an office at Arlington Tower before moving into their current location at 80 W. First St.

He doesn’t see Reno becoming the next Silicon Valley, though. “I definitely think we’re not trying to become the next Silicon Valley. Reno is Reno. We like Reno for what it is. It’s just great to see more people coming into Reno with their startups. They’re here because it’s Reno, not because they want to make it something else,” Hoffman said.

Over at Girlmade, Ashley Jennings and her team are helping women find their footing when it comes to starting their own businesses in the (still) male-driven world of entrepreneurship. “Girlmade arose out of a need I saw for more accelerator programs that were focused on creating female founders,” Jennings said.

She created a three month accelerator program which provides mentoring, coaching and gets women in front of potential investors. “I wanted women to know they could play bigger,” Jennings said.

With the Bay Area not too far away and all the talk about Silicon Valley, Jennings knew they needed to come up with a unique name for the area growing up around the Collective, which she referred to as “the fishbowl.”

“Los Angeles has Silicon Beach, the Midwest – Silicon Prairie. I suggested we start calling it Startup Row, since all of us were on First Street. And it just stuck,” Jennings said.

From there, publicity for the area blossomed. The Reno Gazette Journal did a story, Colin Loretz scored the @startuprow Twitter handle and flags with the moniker were ordered to be hung along First Street.

In some cases, companies are working on Startup Row and in far-flung places like Ann Arbor, Michigan. Pinoccio is one such company. Pinoccio is a wireless adapter that allows people to build networks without Wifi. Its next incarnation will be a device to help people control their sprinkler systems more precisely.

“Eric (Jennings, the founder of Pinoccio) got started at his house here in Reno. He worked with Sally (Carson, CEO and Co-Founder) in San Francisco until she moved to Ann Arbor because that is where her husband is working on his doctorate,” Nora Laitinen, Production and Operations Manager at Pinoccio, said.

“Pinoccio encourages virtual offices, where you can be anywhere in the world and still be engaged in the same project successfully,” Laitinen said.

While the average person walking in the area near First and Sierra Streets or First and Arlington might not recognize the tech growth happening in the city, it’s hard not to be aware of it, especially since there have been so many stories done on the area recently.

Loretz was recently featured in an issue of Reno News and Review where he waxes poetic about the Reno Collective and all the good it has brought to the neighborhood.

“The idea of co-working has grown a lot. If I had to start it over again in Reno, I don’t know if I would (try to start the Collective again). It’s really, really hard to start something in Reno.”

Take heart, entrepreneurs of Reno, there’s still plenty of room for growth in the economic sector, tech or otherwise.

quarter two goals

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I can’t believe it’s already April 1 already. This year is flying by, but it’s been a good one so far. I didn’t set any goals at the beginning of this year, at least nothing I shared here. To be honest, even if I had, once school started I wouldn’t have had much time to work on them. I’m working two campus jobs, taking three classes that keep me busy and my freelance work has really picked up. I also opened my own Etsy shop so I’ve been trying to work on that. That being said, I was inspired by Elise’s post from yesterday about how she’s doing with her goals and decided it might be good to set some goals for April, May and June, especially since school will finish in mid-May and I’ll have a little bit more free time.

1. Make two sales per month in my Etsy shop (0/6)

2. Read five books (0/5)

3. Save $50 each month ($0/$125)

4. Prep two short stories for publication on Amazon (0/2)

5. Begin working on marketing plans for my books and my Etsy shop

Do you have any goals for the upcoming months? I’m planning to position myself really well so that when school starts in August I’m on auto-pilot with my freelance work.

interview: mike denison of bea arthur art

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The other day I tweeted about how I thought a certain episode of the Golden Girls was silly, even though it scares me (it’s about them being robbed).

Mike Denison favorited the tweet and on a whim I reached out to him to see if he might be interested in an interview. He agreed, so here we are. Mike is creating a piece of art featuring Bea Arthur everyday for a year. He started on September 7 of last year and will finish September 7 of this year.

Brianna Soloski: You obviously have a love for Golden Girls. Was there anything in particular that inspired you to create Bea Arthur art for a year?

Mike Denison: I had painted the Golden Girls as a birthday gift for my friend last year. Having not done much creatively after that, I felt I needed to take on something that would push me and keep me at it. For some reason, Bea seemed like a sustainable idea to me and one people might enjoy.

Brianna: Why Bea Arthur? Why not Betty White or Rue McClanahan or Estelle Getty?

Mike: I have always been fascinated with Bea’s sarcasm and comedic timing. She was always the central part of the show for me. Just look at that “no B.S.” side-eye glare. Plus, she portrayed one of the most intriguing Star Wars characters, Ackmena.

Brianna: What are you doing with all the art at the end of the year?

Mike: I have sold some and given some away as gifts. I plan on collecting the entire project in some sort of coffee table book or something.

Brianna: Have you ever taken on a huge project like this before?

Mike: Definitely not. I hadn’t done much at all in over a decade, though I’m never letting that happen again.

Brianna: What’s your favorite Golden Girls episode, if you have one?

Mike: That’s a tough question. One that sticks out for me is the one where Rose won St. Olaf Woman of the Year.

Brianna: Do you have another project planned when you finish this one?

Mike: I have several ideas but I won’t decide on exactly what’s next until later in the year. In the meantime, I keep trying to work other mediums and mini-projects into #BeaADay, such as the iPhone/iPad game we just released, called BUSY BEA (Android version coming soon!). It pays homage to the Golden Girls and parodies the whole Flappy Bird phenomenon. I’m currently running Twitter contests where users will be able to win original art used in the game.

 

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