Suburbanites and art collectors typically overlook the motels along Arlington Avenue and Fourth Street in downtown Reno. But Nada Dada, a collaboration of artists showing their work in motels Thursday to June 19, provides a reason to explore another side of the city.
The motto for this autonomous, unorganized band of right-brainers is: Get a room, make a show.
"The motels are actually worried that they won't have enough rooms to house us," said Chad Sorg, artist and one of the coordinators.
Christine Fey, resource development and cultural affairs manager for the city of Reno, said she has attended since it began in 2007 and wouldn't miss it.
"The artists are excellent," she said. "The work is unusual. It's the kind of thing you wouldn't get to see in a gallery. It's organic. It grows out of the community. It amazes me; the level of artists and art that is being produced in our community never ceases to amaze me."
Six local artists who wanted to show their work but were tired of dealing with the middle man came up with the concept in 2007. They rented rooms at the El Cortez Hotel, and the event was called Nada Dada Motel.
"Be afraid of nothing, and just do what you want to do and don't ask anybody for permission," said S.K. James, a local photographer and one of the event coordinators. "Don't wait for an OK from a gallery curator. Don't wait for the New York Times to call. Just do the best you can and get it out there. Anybody who wants to call themselves a Nada Dada artist is. Anybody who wants to come and exhibit can."
The event continues to grow.
Artists now rent motel rooms between Fourth and Second streets on Arlington Avenue, as well as at Wildflower Village farther west on Fourth Street. Although El Cortez no longer opens its rooms to artists, bands will perform Friday night in the Trocadero Lounge. Artists also are showing work at Strega Bar, Oxbow Press, the 720 Tahoe building and vacant storefronts on First Street next to Java Jungle.
Forty artists and performers participated five years ago and that number doubled last year, Sorg said.
Dianna Sion, one of the original six artists, said Nada Dada has become a movement that she believes has the potential to expand, even beyond Reno.
"I don't think it's going to fade," she said. "Every year, more and more artists are coming and getting involve because they see that it's expanding. Wow, this is really great for our city."
Where and when (from Nada Dada's latest news release)
"Motel Room Exhibitions" - various locations including Townhouse, El Ray, Lido Inn, Rancho Sierra and Wildflower Village. Additional exhibitions of visual and performing arts at Strega Bar, along first Street, Oxbow Press, TRS Gallery and 720 Tahoe St. Galleries.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
1-4 p.m.: Kids Korner open to the public, art with children, puppetry by Bernie Beauchamp, and face painting in the Townhouse Motel Courtyard
Day of Confession, Night of Indulgence at Trocadero Lounge on the ground floor of the El Cortez Hotel
Noon to 7 p.m.: Starting point exhibition of participating artists, including their room info, free, all ages
8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.: Bands and performances..$5 cover, drink specials, 21+, hosted by Layla James
1-9 p.m.: Bands perform Wild at Wildflower Wildflower Village
4-? p.m.: Bands perform Club Tropicadada at Strega Bar (ongoing art exhibition, "Ordinarily Radical" at this venue featuring 6 Nada Dada artists' work).
1-6 p.m.: Bands perform Riot on the Roof at 720 Tahoe Galleries
5 p.m.: Closing Party and barbecue at Oxbow Press
Check out Nada Dada's many downtown locations:
View Nada Dada in a larger map