Friday, October 30, 2009

Bill Cowee

[Below is a moving tribute to Bill Cowee by fellow Nevada writer Shaun Griffin.]

Bill Cowee—Friend to Poets, Libraries, and Readers
by Shaun T. Griffin

Northern Nevada lost a literary champion on Friday, October 16. Born in Wisconsin and raised in Montana, Bill Cowee came to this region to attend undergraduate school at UNR, and later finished his accounting degree at USC. He worked as a comptroller for the Arden-Mayfair grocery chain in Southern California before once again, relocating to northern Nevada. For the next two decades he worked as an accountant with his brother, John, in Dayton.

It was during this time that Bill resurrected his love of poetry. Quite unobtrusively, he started Ash Canyon Poets with John Garmon in 1987. They have continued to meet every Friday of the year since that time—except Christmas Eve. And he began to study the art form in earnest, acquiring books from all periods of poetic history. Equally important, he began to work as a teacher and colleague with so many of his peers, people who came to him for advice, for suggestions on revision. In the middle of all this effort, he wrote his poems, some of which leave me breathless. After several years he gathered them in his first volume, Bones Set Against the Drift, published by Black Rock Press in 1997.

Publishing a poem has been described as pushing a leaf over the Grand Canyon wall and waiting to hear its echo. But Bill’s volume did leave a mark—the poems rang true to this landscape and the people who make the Great Basin home. He articulated a clear vision of the West—something like Gary Snyder’s vision of this place, and he did it with careful attention to detail, to sound, to imagery. No poet comes upon his or her craft with ease. Bill worked tirelessly at revision and at making each word count. What he wanted from a poem was nothing less than awe. He wanted the reader to set it down like fire at the feet.

His reading taught him so much and he relied on the vast history of poets and poetry for instruction, for ways to enrich each separate effort. Although I have written of his work before, I am besieged with regret that this must come after his valiant effort “to stay alive,” as the poet Denise Levertov wrote. Late in life Bill moved into the Evergreen Mountain View Convalescent home. He told me that he would never write again, that he “was all through” because to write in that place would be usury and he could not bring himself to do so. I listened to him but did not believe him. I told him he had everything to write about, that life “was now/ and never was/ before or after,” like our friend the poet Toby Lurie wrote. It was a difficult adjustment for Bill, living in a place without wheels and where sickness and the loss of life were part of his existence.

Soon Bill did several things that struck me as nothing short of amazing. Upon moving into the facility—whose many loving staff kept Bill thriving—and with the tireless help of his guardian angel, Terry Ford, he donated his 1,200-plus volumes of poetry to Western Nevada College. Six months ago, after just getting out of the hospital, he attended the dedication ceremony at the college. The volumes are in a sunlit corner of the library, all with a small sticker on them: The Bill Cowee Poetry Collection. Similarly, upon urging from Terry Breeden, he submitted his poems—yes, he did start writing again—to the Nevada Arts Council. In May, 2009, he learned he was the recipient of this year’s artist fellowship in literature. This was his second fellowship award from the Nevada Arts Council. These poems were the very poems he told me he could never write. They are among the most humane of all that he has left us.

I wish I could recount the number of days Bill and I talked about poetry on the steps of his brother’s accounting office, or mornings spent at the Piñon Poetry Festival teaching young students about the art form, or the evenings in classes or workshops or libraries bringing new readers and writers to poetry. Bill never tired of giving his gift away and he never expected the gift of recognition to come in return. He regretted not being in the Nevada Writer’s Hall of Fame—a regret that may yet change—but he was thrilled to receive the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2001. He served as the poetry editor for Bristlecone and co-director of the Western Mountain Writer’s conference. Perhaps most unknown about Bill, he labored to support the poets in the prison poetry workshop I have taught at Northern Nevada Correctional Center for many years. In fact, one year they elected to put a painting of him on the cover of their journal, Razor Wire.

Bill had three sons, all grown, a former spouse, a mother, sister, and two brothers who live on. Gratefully, they were able to be with him in his last week of life. Words mean very little to someone in a time of grief and I imagine if Bill were here, he would have written a poem to say good-bye. It was only through the grace of Denise and so many more of the staff at Evergreen that he could share his words at all. But when we gathered to read his poems on that Friday evening, everyone knew that they had been shaken by a man whose love of poetry was unbridled, had no boundaries, and would never accept a world without art.

Bill would have wanted you to know this most of all and so I will end with his words.

Do Not Resuscitate

Much like Tutankhamen,
we must record the wishes
of our passing
the Advanced Directive,
not the killing of slaves
with their baskets of wheat and dates,
but the absence of feeding tubes
or hands pumping our breasts.
Only the sipping of drugs
to ease the journey.
Let me go
into the great lake,
into my own time, my soul
wrapped in its swaddling
with the spices of my life.
My body like a reed
of its own papyrus
ink still wet with the blessing
of having written.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trailer Park Troubadours

Brewery Arts Center
449 W. King Street
Carson City, NV 89703

October 30 + 31 | 7:30 pm:
Antsy McClain & The Trailer Park Troubadours

"Celebrate Nevada Day Eve with the return of the Polyester Dressed Flamingo Heads themselves."

$23 Reserved Seating
$20 Students, Seniors & BAC Members

[text and graphic from the BAC website.]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CCAI in the Nevada Appeal!

[Click on the image above to enlarge a scan of pages from the October 25 Nevada Appeal. CCAI extends heartfelt thanks to the Appeal for featuring our October 16 Benefit Cocktail Party and Runway Fashion Show in its Sunday edition – and for all its coverage of northern Nevada arts & culture! ]

Additional pictures from the event on CCAI's Facebook Fan Page.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Kepa Junkera Ensemble

Churchill Arts Council
Oats Park Art Center

151 E. Park Street
Fallon, Nevada

Saturday, November 7 | 8pm:
The Kepa Junkera Ensemble

Bar open at 7 pm.
Tickets—$17 CAC members
$20 non-members
$10 students

Kepa Junkera, along with Joseba Zulaika, Director of Basque Studies at UNR, will also conduct a free and open-to-the-public preview and conversation on Basque music and traditions at 3:00 PM on the day of the performance.

Kepa Junkera is a master of the trikitixa, Basque accordion, and one of the most innovative musicians in Europe who has performed with world-renowned musicians from the Chieftains to Andreas Vollenweider

[text and graphic from CAC press mailing.]

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bernd and Hilla Becher

Nevada Museum of Art
160 West Liberty Street

The Grid: Bernd and Hilla Becher

German husband-and-wife team Bernd and Hilla Becher are best known for their photographs of large-scale industrial buildings that are typically arranged in grids. Using a large-format camera, the Bechers have photographed hundreds of industrial structures—including water towers, grain silos, houses, and warehouses—with the aim of maintaining a straightforward and objective point of view. At once conceptual art and typological study, the Bechers’ photography has influenced a generation of artists, from Candida Höfer and Andreas Gursky to Ed Ruscha and Henry Wessel.

This exhibition is presented as part of the Art + Environment series, an initiative of the Nevada Museum of Art that brings together community, artists and scholars to explore the interaction between people and their environments.

Through February 07, 2010

[text and graphic from museum website. Caption: "Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gas Tanks (GB Erdgas), 1963 – 93. Black and white photographs, 68 x 56 in. (overall). Courtesy of Private Collection, San Francisco.)"]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Talent Show Auditions!

Western Nevada College
Carson City Campus

Latino Student Club

"Don’t Hide Your Talent! Bring it to the Saturday, November 7 WNC Talent Show!"

WNC's Latino Student Club is looking for those who can sing, dance, play an instrument or tell jokes for the second annual “Show Your Talent Contest” on . Auditions are open to WNC students and the community at large.

Audition dates:
Friday, Oct. 23, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Cedar Building Rm. 109
WNC Carson City Campus

Monday, Nov. 2 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Marlette Hall
WNC Carson City Campus

There is a $20 per couple entry fee for dance contestants; other talent entries are free. Dance entrants are asked to bring their own music to the audition. There will be prizes for the talent winners and cash prizes for the dance contest.

Proceeds from the event will provide scholarships to Latino students.

[text from WNC press release. Graphic from Google image search for 'theater stage.']

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Grants to Nevada Artists & Educators

Nevada Arts Council
Grant Application
November Deadlines

Jackpot Grants
Postmark Deadline: Nov. 16
[for projects Jan 1-March 31, 2010]

Quarterly grants of up to $1,000 for artists to support new and/or exemplary arts projects. Jackpots are also designed to support activities that help artists further their careers. Artist must have attained a certain level of proficiency as represented in the quality of works samples submitted with application.

Eligible applicants must currently:
· be a practicing professional artist
· be a Nevada resident for 12 months prior to application date
· have U.S. citizenship or legal resident status
· be at least 21 years old, and not be currently enrolled as a degree-seeking student

NAC Contact: Mary Vargas, Grants Coordinator



Better Education Through The Arts Grants [BETA]
Postmark Deadlines: November 16 – for projects Jan 1-March 31, 2010

Quarterly grants up to $750 to teaching artists and educators. BETA grants support small arts education projects designed and presented by organizations and individuals. May include, but are not limited to: art exhibitions, performances, reading and concerts; sponsoring of arts education workshops and conferences.

Eligible applicants: Teaching artists is a professional or traditional artist with training and experience in an art form and with knowledge of educational practice.

NAC Contact: Maryjane Dorofachuk, Arts Education Coordinator


[text from NAC public information notice. Graphic from Google image search for 'jackalope.']

Monday, October 19, 2009

CCAI Recycled Seconds Benefit Cocktail Party & Fashion Show

"CCAI Recycled Seconds Benefit Cocktail Party & Fashion Show"

A dozen young northern Nevada 'DIY' designers and a dozen models teamed with the Capital City Arts Initiative to present a lively runway fashion show on Friday evening at Classy Seconds, Carson City's premier thrift store.

Proceeds from the event help support CCAI's Arts In Education programs and Advocates to End Domestic Violence [AEDV]. Sales from Classy Seconds help fund AEDV.

more pictures on CCAI's Facebook Fan Page

[click on image to enlarge.]

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bill Cowee, Nevada Poet

"The blue heron steps lightly across the wetland, stalks the heart within my chest"
-Bill Cowee

CCAI is saddened to learn of the death of Nevada poet Bill Cowee. Mr. Cowee, one of the guiding forces of the Ash Canyon Poets, passed away on October 15.

In an article in the Nevada Appeal, WNC English professor Marilee Swirczek commented: "His poetry is very much grounded in the landscape of the Great Basin and the interior landscape of our hearts and souls. His poetry cuts down to the bone and gristle of human emotions."

Mr. Cowee was honored in 2001 with a Governor's Arts Award. In 2007 he donated more than 1,000 volumes of poetry, the majority featuring Northern Nevada writers, to the Western Nevada College Library.

[Quote from Nevada Audubon website. Photo from Nevada Appeal archive.]

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Exhibitions in the WNC Galleries

[Click on image to enlarge. CCAI extends best wishes to WNC and the participating artists, with a special 'shout-out' to Jim McCormick who will be featured in a special exhibition of site-specific work opening winter 2010 at the CCAI Courthouse Gallery.]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All Systems Go for Friday October 16 event!

From the CCAI Picture Album:

Earlier today, CCAI Executive Director Sharon Rosse and Recycled Seconds Lead Designer Kodi Fujii reviewed plans for Friday's Benefit Cocktail Party and Runway Fashion Show.

"DIY fashion from northern Nevada's most exciting young designers and artists, no host bar, great guests, models and designers in a glamorous, Bohemian setting!"

Tickets are still available and all are invited! $25. per person | $10. special student rate! Click here for details!

Monday, October 12, 2009

On Site Design Studio

As part of Recycled Seconds, CCAI's fall project focusing on community-based practice, DIY fashion design, sustainability and civic engagement, CCAI, working with on site staff, have created a fashion design studio at Classy Seconds, Carson City's premier thrift store.

Beginning this month, local designers and artists have been working with Classy Seconds' vast and ever-changing inventory to create new pieces and outfits, from halter taps crafted from men's dress shirts to smart cocktail dresses from t-shirts to avant-garde jewelery from discarded hardware.

A benefit cocktail party and runway show at Classy Seconds will highlight the project this Friday, October 9, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Click here for details and a copy of your electronic invitation!

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Advocates to End Domestic Violence [AEDV].

[Above are, l-r, Recycled Seconds designers Gil Valdez, Genny Reuter, Dominique Palladino and Bryan Christiansen on site in early and later stages of the process. Click on the image to enlarge. As you'll see from the shelves, the designers have found an abundance of materials to work with!

Our heartfelt thanks to staffs of AEDV and Classy Seconds for their support of Recycled Seconds!]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Recycle LACMA

[As part of "Recycled Seconds," CCAI's Fall 2009 project focusing on community-based practice, DIY fashion design, sustainability and civic engagement, the CCAI Blog! is featuring a range of textiles|fashion projects through the end of the year.]

Recycle LACMA

On January 14th, 2009 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced that it was deaccessioning more than 100 items from its costumes and textiles collection. Once carefully collected, catalogued, and cared for, these items have now been cast back out in to the world. What will happen to them? Like any other useless item, they will need to be recycled or disposed of.

Recycle LACMA is a project of Los Angeles-based artist Robert Fontenot. At three separate auctions he purchased over 50 items deaccessioned by LACMA and is now trying to find new uses for these otherwise unwanted items.

Although each item has not yet been used, each item can have a use.

Recycle LACMA blog

NPR Weekend Edition Story

Related: Reserve your tickets for the CCAI Recycled Seconds Benefit Cocktail Party and Runway Fashion Show - Friday, October 16 at Classy Seconds, 6:30 on...

[Text and graphic from Recycle LACMA blog. The photograph displays a Korean Girl's Hood recycled as a sling.]

Saturday, October 10, 2009

1er Poetry Slam Bilingüe

[NB: We've just learned that this event has been postponed. Check back with the Center for updates.]

Latino Research Center
University of Nevada, Reno

Wednesday October 14th
1st Bilingual Poetry Slam



Educators are invited to encourage their students to participate. Let their voices be heard!



1er Poetry Slam Bilingüe

La próxima es nuestra última semana de celebraciones del Mes de la Hispanidad!

Recuerden que nuestro Primer Poetry Slam Bilingüe es el miércoles 14 de Octubre y que tenemos premios excelentes!

Si aun no se han inscrito para participar todavía queda tiempo.

Visita nuestro sitio web donde encontrarás toda la informacion con respecto a este evento y como puede ser parte.

Si usted es un educador, por favor no se olvide de alentar a sus estudiantes a participar. Esta es una gran oportunidad para dejar que sus voces sean escuchadas.

Nos vemos la próxima semana!


Part of Hispanic Heritage Month | Mes de la Herencia Hispana 2009

[Information and Spanish text from Center press mailing. Graphic from Google image search for 'poetry slam.']

Friday, October 09, 2009

African Festival

[Article reprinted in full from the Reno Gazette Journal]

African festival starts Friday at UNR

The African Union of Northern Nevada is holding its first festival with drumming, poetry, storytelling and other cultural activities Friday and Saturday in Reno.

The event is open to the public and is free, except for Saturday’s dinner and dance.

The festival starts at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Jot Travis Auditorium on the University of Nevada, Reno campus with poetry, musical performances, a drumming workshop and fashion shows. Events from 6 to 8 p.m. will include poetry, drumming, storytelling and the Anouaze Dance Troupe.

Saturday’s festival starts at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of UNR’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center with an address from keynote speaker Elavie Ndura-Ouedraogo of George Mason University.

A dinner and dance Saturday at the Reno Ramada Inn, 1000 E. Sixth St., begins at 7 p.m. with dinner featuring African dishes scheduled at 7:50 p.m.

Tickets are $25 per person and are available at Getchy’s Africana Shop, 1200 N. Rock Blvd, Suite 6 or by calling 775-358-7168 or 775-233-6971.

[graphic from Google Image search for 'African Festival.']

Thursday, October 08, 2009

30th Annual Governor’s Arts Award Commission

Nevada Arts Council

Call for Artists: 30th Annual Governor’s Arts Award Visual Arts Commission

The commissioned artist is awarded $3,500 to create seven original works of art—six pieces are presented to the Governor’s Arts Awards recipients during a public ceremony in Las Vegas in April 2010, and one is placed in the NAC permanent collection.

[information from NAC electronic mailing. Image from website of 2005 commissioned artist Maria Arango.]

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

October FWAC!

Wednesday, October 7* | 4:30 to 6 p.m.
FWAC!, CCAI's monthly First Wednesday Arts Coffee

* and the first Wednesday of every month!

Convening at the Bliss Mansion located at the corner of Robinson and Elizabeth Streets in Carson City's Historic District, across the street from the Governor's Mansion.

Please join fellow artists, and arts & culture enthusiasts for CCAI's informal monthly arts gathering.

Our thanks as always to Cyndy and Steve Brenneman for their hospitality!


[graphic from Google image search for 'coffee.]

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Lives of the Artists

Churchill Arts Council
Oats Park Art Center

151 E. Park Street
Fallon, Nevada

October 9, 16 & 23
Film Screenings: “Lives of the Artists”

October 9

1997 portrayal of the life of the Baroque artist, Artemisia Gentilischi (1593-1653), featuring Valentina Cervi and Michel Serrault

October 16
“Camille Claudel”

1998 film on the late nineteenth century sculptor, featuring Isabelle Adjani and Gerard Depardieu

October 23

2002 story of the life of Frida Khalo featuring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina

The Art Center and the Art Bar will open at 6:00 PM on the nights of the screenings.

Tickets for each film are $7 for CAC members and $10 for non-members

[information and graphic from CAC press release. Click on image to enlarge.]