Underneath the Nugget’s towers in Sparks, divided by a set of railroad tracks, sits a massive warehouse that is home to the Generator, a workshop space for art creations as well as commercial entities.
Most notably, the Generator has served as the pre-assembly site for notable Burning Man art installations such as 2016’s Space Whale (soon to be displayed in downtown Reno’s City Plaza), 2014’s Embrace (both the brainchild of co-founder Matt Schultz, the latter with the Pier Group), and 2015’s Funhouse Sideshow Banners by Rex “Killbuck” Norman.
The Generator’s operations model is significantly influenced by Burning Man; all artists, which do not pay a fee to use the facility (and must sign a waiver), are asked to contribute to various duties such as maintaining the restroom and kitchen (yes, the place has its own kitchen, where artists serve communal meals), as well as acculturating newcomers.
UPDATE: A paid membership model is now being rolled out to raise funds for a new building.
Besides a sense of community and acceptance, the workshop’s regulars (seven of whom are explored in the following pages) bring to their projects a willingness to work and a belief in responsibility for their own safety and sanitation. To spread these ideals, A detailed manual is given to all new members upon joining.
For all it has done to better the Reno art community, the Generator’s management (which includes Schultz, fellow co-founder Lindsey Adams and operations manager Bill Horner, as well as development director Aric Shapiro) must make a big decision about the venture’s future in the future.
The four individuals, who declined to appear on-camera, revealed that the Generator will be forced to move its operations from its current Icehouse Ave. location in September (after Burning Man concludes), citing increasing rent and bills totaling over $15,000 a month.
UPDATE: They now say that the need to move is less urgent, and that this process will take multiple years to complete.
Adams told local burners at a March town hall that after the move to a new facility, which they want to be located in Reno proper (ideally in the downtown area), the enterprise would have to rely on private donors to stay in operation.
The remainder of this website explores seven of these artists and their creative ambitions hoping to play a role in that future, whether that be a community gift or a commercial project.