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The art of preservation
by Debra Reid
Oct 09, 2009 | 1064 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file/Debra Reid - Over the last few years, local and California artists have gathered for group "paint-ins" to document and interpret Truckee Meadows scenery. An art show later this month will display their work.
Tribune file/Debra Reid - Over the last few years, local and California artists have gathered for group "paint-ins" to document and interpret Truckee Meadows scenery. An art show later this month will display their work.
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A vision of vibrant hues attracted Reno painter Erik Holland to a rural trailhead south of town on Thursday evening. Holland later said he was a little too early — the fall colors haven't yet peaked. He'll soon return with his canvas and paintbrushes to Thomas Creek.

Over the last few years, Holland has invited other artists to join him in the high desert of Winnemucca Ranch and the alpine environment of the Mt. Rose Scenic Corridor. The artist's mission: to document and draw attention to local rural landscapes. Holland will hang the results of his recent "paint-ins" for public view later this month at the Winnemucca Ranch/Mt. Rose Art Show.

A former candidate for Reno mayor, Holland is founder of Voters for Sustainable Growth, a grassroots organization that pushes for limits on urban growth in the Truckee Meadows. Holland said money raised by the art show will benefit both the artists and his organization's legal action fund. Holland said the group has already filed a lawsuit against the city of Reno to stop the re-zoning and possible annexation of the Winnemucca Ranch project 30 miles north of Sparks.

"We say it's improper for Reno to exercise authority over the Winnemucca Ranch," Holland said. "Following that logic, what's preventing the annexation of Gerlach?" he joked.

Holland called the re-zoning and possible annexation of the development "leapfrogs" unincorporated area in violation of Nevada's annexation laws.

The 87,000-acre Winnemucca Ranch, owned by the Jacksick family of Reno, is the site of the proposed Spring Mountain project. Projected to contain 12,000 homes, the community has been touted as "self-sufficient" by the developers with its own retail development, jobs, alternative energy, law enforcement and water.

Holland opposes the project and is pushing for higher-density developments within the cities, especially in the downtown Sparks and Reno areas.

"We'd like to see the Jacksick family redirect their energy into town," Holland said. "Our downtown cores are dying."

Holland and his group hope to raise a daunting amount of money to buy the ranch from the Jacksick family. Holland claims the family paid $5 million for the ranch and have offered to sell it at $50 million. Holland hopes an offer somewhere in between might be accepted — if he can find a wealthy patron or two.

"We've sent Frank Shank after Robert Redford," Holland said. "I'm working with the Sierra Club to raise money. We're reaching out to people to buy the ranch."

Holland said he may approach the Nature Conservancy, a national land preservation group.

If the ranch is preserved, Holland wants public access for a park with a name like "Nevada Heritage Ranch."

"We want the city to end and the country to start," Holland said. "We don't want a megalopolis like Sacramento."

Through his paint in, the artist is hoping to raise between $10,000 and $20,000. A past art show raised money allowing the group to file a lawsuit against the city of Reno. The suit is an attempt to stop the city's annexation of Winnemucca Ranch.

Holland said the "paint-in" idea is not new. He was inspired by similar events organized in Marin County, Calif. to help protect open space along the coastline.

The Winnemucca Ranch/Mt. Rose Art show will run from Oct. 20 to mid-November at the Patagonia Service Center, 8550 White Fir St., Reno. An opening reception is on Oct. 23 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
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