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Murals Make Nevada’s Buildings Come Alive

Colorful paintings are popping up around the state, telling stories, and drawing attention.

BY MEGG MUELLER

As a town ages, its buildings take on the patina of the years; fading bricks and paint take the place of bold, new structures, and the impact on a neighborhood can be sad. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Murals can tell a story of gentrification,  of artistic longing, or the history of an area. Whatever the tale, Nevada’s murals—including Reno’s Midtown Murals—are a beautiful reminder of the Silver State’s colorful nature.

Boulder City

Nevada Murals


This mural is a postcard representation of Boulder City’s journey, depicting the construction of Boulder Canyon Dam Project, now known as Hoover Dam, Boulder Dam Hotel, the shantytowns this project created, the creation and development of Boulder City, the coming of TWA and the Boulder City Airport, as well as a hint at the natural beauty of the desert and indigenous wildlife, including Big Horn Sheep.

Murals are everywhere in this historic town. A self-guided tour is available with information and locations on each mural. Contact cwestbrook@lvcva.com for more information.


Gardnerville

 

Nevada Murals

The mural in Gardnerville was created with removable panels. Photo by Tommy Walter.

The latest mural to join the Silver State is in Gardnerville, on the Masons/Cheshire Antiques Building. The presentation of the Basque Sheep Herders that helped build the Carson Valley has been several years in the making and was installed March 1.

The artist is Beverly Caputo, and she is no stranger to murals. Visit her site here:  http://beverlycaputo.com/


Ely

The Ely Renaissance Society has created an art trail, highlighting the small town’s murals, sculptures, and renaissance village. The first mural was commissioned in 1999 when the area began to feel the effects of a dying mining operation. Larry Bute—a well-known cowboy artist—painted a Western scene on the side of a private business, and the city hasn’t looked back since. More than 20 murals, sculptures, and other pieces of public art make up the Ely Art Trail. Visitors will see mining scenes; the Basque, Greek, and Italian cultures; railroad, blacksmith, and ranching lifestyles; and many other depictions of Ely’s vast and colorful history. Ely was the host of the 2004 Global Mural Conference.


Henderson

Nevada’s second largest city is home to many murals located throughout the Water Street District. Commissioned by celebrated local artists, visitors can take a walking tour of the murals and learn about the milestones that created the city.


 

Nevada Murals

Caliente’s Depot Mural. Photo by Eric Cachinero.

Caliente

Caliente’s mission-style railroad depot was built in 1923 and features a larger-than-life mural depicting the Silver State’s history from 1863 to 1914. There are a couple murals at the depot, and the train cars outside are also brightly painted.

 


 Beatty

Beatty traces its roots to the early 1900s, a time when railroad travel was vital to the survival of many towns in Nevada. Depicted here is the Tonopah and Tidewater line, which came to the town in Oct. 1907.

Nevada Murals

Beatty Mural. Photo by Janet Geary

 


Goldfield

By some estimations, Goldfield produced more than $86 million in gold between 1903 and 1940. This mural on a business pays tribute to early miners.

Nevada Murals

Goldfield Mural. Photo by Janet Geary

 


Tonopah

The “Queen of the Silver Camps” has a strong history, and the murals that can be found around town paint a picture of a multi-faceted town. From the New York to Paris Great Race in 1908 to paying homage to miners who lost their lives, Tonopah’s murals show both the good and bad of yesteryear.

 


Hawthorne

With its proximity to Walker Lake, Hawthorne lays claim to folklore surrounding the body of water. Pictured in this mural is Cecil the Serpent, a Hawthorne favorite. The mural is located on the Mineral County Museum, which is dedicated to the history of the area.

Nevada Murals

Hawthorne Mural. Photo by Janet Geary

Stay tuned: as more murals are developed across the state, we’ll add them here. If we missed your favorite, email editor@nevadamagazine.com so we can add them!

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