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Muralists take over Carson City for a weekend

A man in a tan vest, black shorts, white long sleeve t-shirt, and a hat stands in front of a multicolored wall and an orange lift.
Jose Davila IV
KUNR Public Radio
Edwin Martinez Escobar stands in front of his mural at the Carson City Chamber of Commerce in Carson City, Nev. on September 28, 2023.

International and regional muralists painted all over Carson City as a part of the first Carson City Murals and Music Festival.

Edwin Martinez Escobar has been painting and drawing since he was a kid. Inspired by the great Mexican muralistas Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros of his homeland, he has been creating murals across Northern Nevada since 2020. He has painted pieces at Los Chilaquiles, North Valleys Skate Park, and the McCarran Tunnel at Rancho San Rafael.

During the last weekend of September, he was drinking a lot of coffee and completing new murals at the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. The main mural, visible on the north side of the building, shows a thundering herd of mustangs running through a multicolored Nevada sunset. Martinez Escobar, who has lived in Reno for thirty years, shared what he hopes people see in the work.

“I want them to see the beauty of what Northern Nevada has to offer, not just in a material sense, but just nature,” he said. “We are so blessed to have Tahoe, Pyramid, the valley Washoe.”

Martinez Escobar was participating in the new murals and music festival alongside about 26 other artists, some local and some international. In total, they painted 22 murals, mostly in downtown Carson. Many created murals referencing the nature and history of Northern Nevada.

Artists were expected to finish their murals by the end of the three-day event. Brewery Arts Center gallery curator and festival organizer Eric Brooks said that meant attendees got a unique opportunity to see the full painting process.

“That’s part of the fun of coming to these events is you can really see a blank wall go to a completed wall in such a short amount of time,” he said. “And see that process, which when you’re seeing someone who is up 20 feet on a lift a foot away from a wall and then you back up and it’s a 50-foot wall, like that scope and perception of what they’re able to do in that, it just still blows my mind.”

Brooks said that Carson City was due for an event to energize the capital’s art community and residents. Brooks has also helped organize mural festivals in Reno, Elko, and Fernley.

Brooks noted that the arts are big in the capital, pointing to the popular Levitt summer concerts, but said he wanted to create something longer-lasting for residents.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Corrected: October 2, 2023 at 1:49 PM PDT
This story has been updated to clarify 22 murals were painted as a part of the festival. Event organizers previously gave an incorrect number.
Jose Davila IV reports on K-12 education with a focus on Latino students and families in Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra. He is also a first-year Report for America corps member. Es bilingüe, su familia es de Puerto Rico, y ama los tostones de su padre más que nada.
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