arts and culture

A woman next to a microphone.
Paulapoundstone.com

Public radio listeners may already know Paula Poundstone from her long-running gig as a panelist on the NPR quiz show, "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," but she currently is on tour, has a new puppy, loves vaccuum cleaners, and spoke about all of these things (and more!) with KUNR's Michele Ravera. Their conversation comes just before Poundstone is scheduled to perform in Reno on Saturday, June 1, at the Pioneer Center.

Truckee Meadows Community College is canceling its lease at its Keystone Avenue Performing Arts Center. As first reported in ThisisReno last year, TMCC is not renewing its lease at the Keystone location for financial and safety reasons. Although considered by the college as far back as 2015, TMCC President Karin Hilgerson surprised faculty last year by quietly deciding not to renew the lease. 

Governor Steve Sisolak sits at his desk with kids behind him as he signs a bill they wrote and lobbied for.
Holly Hutchings

Like sturdy maple trees in Vermont or the sugary fried beignets of Louisiana, states have their own icons that instantly connect the symbol to its place. Nevada has neon. Some local advocates for the noble gas have been working to get its spot in the history books by making neon the state’s official element this legislative session.

The work paid off, and Governor Steve Sisolak signed the bill into law Tuesday, but the bill’s proponents are not who you might think, and KUNR’s Holly Hutchings has been following them for months.

A huge, brightly lit neon sign of a horse and its rider stands tall on Fremont Street in Las Vegas.
Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The science of neon hasn't changed in over a century. What charged the gas to life as a 1900's advertising medium still burns it brightly today. For KUNR's detailed series on neon, Holly Hutchings traveled to our counterpart in the South and spoke with a physicist about what he calls, lightning in a bottle. 

An old, faded sign stands tall with the letters for "motel" stacked high.
Holly Hutchings

Motels are coming down in Reno, and with that, their signs - works of art and advertising from the automobile revolution - have been lost. While Reno redevelops, bits of roadside history are being discarded. A few dedicated folks are working to recognize and also preserve these icons. KUNR’s Holly Hutchings learned more and has this report.

A man and woman sit at a computer, working on a website to digitally preserve neon signs.
Holly Hutchings

You’ve heard of classic neon signs of bygone buildings being preserved in museums and boneyards, but one professor at the University of Nevada, Reno is taking preservation digital. Dr. Katherine Hepworth is working with a team to document neon signs from Reno’s past, as well as signs left standing, with the goal of eventually allowing all to access and enjoy the design and history of the signs. KUNR’s Holly Hutchings talked to her about the project and has this interview.

Video: 38 Years Of Making Neon In Northern Nevada

Apr 4, 2019
A man stands in front of a work table, holding a small neon sign.
Krysta Scripter

Ken Hines has been working with neon for 38 years and describes himself as the last full-time neon tube-bender in Northern Nevada, making him an asset to the local sign industry. He won't be around forever though, and when KUNR first met him, he was looking for an apprentice. 

Since then, he's found one, and he expects to stay in business for another 10 or so years while also teaching his craft to the next generation.  KUNR took a look inside his studio at Artech to learn more. 

A man in a plaid shirt bends a tube of glass while blowing into it as part of his neon craft.
Holly Hutchings

Blowing and bending glass tubes his whole working life, Ken Hines has helped illuminate the Reno skyline for nearly forty years by creating countless neon signs, but his workload has dwindled and craftsman like him are fading away, like the neon they create. KUNR’s Holly Hutchings caught up with Hines at his work station at Artech, a coworking space in Reno, and has his story.

Virginia Street in Reno at night.
Holly Hutchings

Neon and Nevada go hand in hand. The flashing tube lights are synonymous with the Silver State and have long told our story. Neon has surged in popularity at times and fizzled out in others. KUNR's Arts and Culture Reporter Holly Hutchings has been looking into this integral part of Nevada's identity and talked with News Director Michelle Billman about the stories she’s discovered.

White cans with blue ones in the center in the shape of a platapus.
Holly Hutchings

Whether it’s an octopus or the pyramids of Giza, 12 teams of builders are using canned good to bring hunger awareness to the community through the art of “can sculpting.” 

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