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CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE

Arts & Culture


THEMIDDLE MIDDLEOF OFEVERYWHERE EVERYWHERE ININTHE

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» WELCOME

Donna Inversin and her grandson Trent Coyle take a selfie next to the Kings Canyon Waterfall. On the cover: Linda King dances with 4-year-old Zeyah Costello during a summer concert at the Brewery Arts Center.

Enjoy Carson City

T

hank you for coming to visit us in Carson City! We can’t wait for you to discover why so many residents and visitors chose to live and play in Carson City. We are proud to be Nevada’s capital, but we’re just as proud of the other attributes that define our city — the arts, culture, heritage, culinary and recreational experiences that make it truly special. Rich in Western heritage, this is a community with authentic charm, showcased by four museums and a wealth of historic sites, all within a walk or a short drive of each other. Take the Carson City Art Walk for a self-guided tour of the city’s highlights of culture and heritage (see page 18). Carson City’s cultural roots run deep with American Indian influence. The Stewart Indian School, which ran as a government-operated boarding school from 1890-1980, hosts a walking tour showcasing the school’s history and will open a culture center and museum in the fall of 2019. See page 22 to learn of a former student whose artwork was recently discovered on the walls.

Taste the flavors of the cultural influences in our many restaurants serving international cuisine from across the globe. The newly opened Martin Hotel tells the story of the early Basque sheepherders who were instrumental in shaping Nevada’s character. (See page 4) Carson City is also at the center of everything to see and do in the Reno-Tahoe area. Located just south of Reno and a short drive from Lake Tahoe, visitors can experience the entire region within minutes. Hop aboard the historic Virginia and Truckee Railroad for a trip back to the Old West in Virginia City or spend the afternoon taking in the stunning vistas of Lake Tahoe. Affordable lodging within minutes of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport makes Carson City the perfect place to start your next adventure. Stop by the Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority at 716 N. Carson St., and we’ll be happy to help youDave find the adventure you’re seeking. Signature-

Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority

716 N. Carson St. (775) 687-7410 | visitcarsoncity.com WRITER/EDITOR

Teri Vance PHOTOGRAPHY

Cathleen Allison, Candice Vivien, Caitlin O’Hara LAYOUT & DESIGN

Ched Whitney The 2019 Arts & Culture edition of the Carson City Visitors Guide is created by Nevada Momentum for the Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority. It is an advertising supplement published by the Nevada Appeal.

— Dave Peterson, executive director Monday, January 14, 2019

9:50 AM

 STOP BY the Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority at 716 N. Carson St. Hope to see you out and about. CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 1


Contents

4

Taking the long view Iconic Basque restaurant opens new location in Carson City

14

Denise Jenkins Carson City jeweler makes bold fashion statement

22

Clark Kowchee makes his mark

Student artwork discovered decades later at Stewart Indian School

+

 Dining guide | 8  Carson City Art Walk | 18  The Kit Carson Trail | 24  Places to stay | 28


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» CULTURE

John Arant, owner of The Martin Hotel, talks about the new location that opened recently in Carson City.

Taking the long view “We are casual precision. The food is perfect, the service is perfect, but the atmosphere is casual. We have a lot of fun.” BY TERI VANCE

W

hen John Arant retired from his career in finance back East, he knew he wanted to return to Nevada. “I’ve always been attracted to the high desert,” he said. “I love the long views you get here.” So when The Martin Hotel — the iconic restaurant in Winnemucca — went up for sale, he decided to make the move across the country. “Nevada is the family home,” he said. “The family roots run deep in Winnemucca. The baseball field is named after my grandfather.” 4 • CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019

He’s spent the past 14 years restoring the historic building and increasing the visibility of  the restaurant, which is a locals’ favorite as well as a dining destination for patrons from around the world. “I like to say we have customers we see every week and some we see once a year,” he said.  While keeping his focus on the business, he has not lost sight of that long view — casting his gaze to the capital city.  “We have so many customers in Winnemucca from Carson City. When I realized Carson City does not have its own Basque restaurant, I spent the last five years finding a spot here.”

The Martin Hotel in Carson City opened its doors in late October 2018. “Talk about a friendly welcome,” Arant said. “It’s been over the top. People have been so nice, so welcoming and so curious. It’s nice to have them curious.” HISTORY OF THE MARTIN An 1881 lithograph of the original location in Winnemucca of The Martin Hotel shows the property was first used as a bordello. In 1913, Augustine A. and Elisee Henri Martin, of France, acquired the building next door and later moved to the current location. After a fire in


1920, the hotel was rebuilt to include 25 rooms and a restaurant. Though not Basque, the Martins catered to cattlemen and sheepherders, often Basque, when they came to town. The Basque — originating from parts of France and Spain —began immigrating to the West in the mid-19th century during the Gold Rush.  Many found their wealth instead in the livestock industry, then returned home.  Immigration slowed during World War II, but the country was left with a labor shortage after the war. Legislation passed in 1950 allowing Basque sheepherders to enter the United States for threeyear periods. This gave rise to a new industry.  Boarding houses were created to give the sheepherders a place to stay — and food was often provided.  Others liked the food as well, and Basque restaurants were born.  The Martin Hotel continued in the same tradition after Augustine Martin died. The hotel and restaurant was owned and managed by Basque families stretching into the 1970s including Yrueta, Forgonnes, Bilboa, and Sil and Rosie Uriguen.  THE CUISINE Many of the recipes still served at both locations of The Martin Hotel were created in the 1950s by

Customers enjoy a traditional picon punch and family-style dining at The Martin Hotel in Carson City.

former owner Rosie Uriguen. “We don’t really care about what everybody’s doing now,” Arant said. “Rosie’s recipes make the Martin.” Unlike most restaurants, Basque restaurants serve family-style, with patrons sharing a table. “There is something about communal dining,” Arant said. “Just passing things around the table takes you back. That’s why we’ve made it. It’s just a good family place.” He described the cuisine as “part Spanish, part French and mostly garlic.” He said a first-timer should probably order the lamb shanks or lamb chops.  “Because of the tradition of Basque sheepherders, lamb is a big deal,” he said. “Then you’ll know you’ve been at a Basque restaurant.” The must-have drink is the Picon punch. 

“Every Basque restaurant has its own interpretation — the Martin’s is the best.” The drink is named after Gaétan Picon, an Italian who invented the 78-proof liqueur, Amer Picon, from herbs he found in Algeria, Africa in 1837. The liqueur served as the base for the cocktail created in the late 19th century at a Basque boarding house in California. There is some dispute whether that happened in San Francisco or Bakersfield. The original Picon Amer is largely unavailable in the United States now.  “The French won’t let us import it, so now we use Torani Amer,” Arant explained. The cocktail is part science and another part art. “You take the Torani, and just hover the bottle of grenadine over it. Add a shot of soda,” Arant described. “Stir 13 times. Float the brandy and add a twist of lemon.” THE MARTIN HOTEL IN CARSON CITY The Martin Hotel opened in the long-awaited building at 308 Curry Street. The building is zoned mixed commercial and residential, with CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 5


Diners are surrounded by local art at the Basque-style restaurant.

6 • CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019


businesses on the first two floors and residences above. The distinct design of the building lends an air of elegance to the restaurant, Arant said, which is only somewhat accurate. “We are casual precision,” he said. “The food is perfect, the service is perfect, but the atmosphere is casual. We have a lot of fun.” In staying true to the Basque tradition, Arant is unsure how connected he is The Martin Hotel to that tradition himself. 775-461-0441 “The rumor 308 N. Curry St. is my greatthemartinhotel.com grandmother was Basque,” he said. “She wrote the language and spoke the language.” He said she would write letters for the Basque sheepherders in their little-known native tongue to their families back home. “The country was as prejudiced then as it is now, so she would never admit she was Basque,” he said. “We have no idea where she was from. None. You just have to take it for what it was — the Wild West.” In style, food and decor — including local artwork displayed for sale on the walls — the Carson City version mimics the historic version in Winnemucca.  “They’ve done it in a way that people walk in and say, ‘Oh, it’s the Martin,’” Arant said. “The only difference they should feel here is the floor is level.”

“You take the Torani, and just hover the bottle of grenadine over it. Add a shot of soda. Stir 13 times. Float the brandy and add a twist of lemon.”

One Ownership... One Stop Family Fun

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Karaoke (1st & 3rd Fri 7-11pm)

• Largest selection of bikes in Carson City.

Swing Dancing

• Full service shop – Bring your repairs, big or small.

(Mondays 5:30-10pm)

• Quick turnaround times!

28 Synthetic Bowling Lanes

Country Dancing

9 Slot Machines | 4 Classic Billiard Tables

(Tue & Wed 6-10pm)

BREAKFAST I LUNCH I DINNER

Bowling, Billiards & Arcade

Order food from any venue and they’ll deliver right into the bowling center, billiards room or lounge.

(Daily 9am-Close)

3 Great Restaurants | 2 Full Bars

We look forward to your visit! 4600 Snyder Avenue | Carson City, NV 775.883.2606 | Open Daily at 9am No other outside food or drinks allowed.

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Best Place to Take Kids CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 7


» DINING

Bon appétit CARSON CITY is a feast of unique dining experiences. Whether you’re looking for fun, eclectic dishes, authentic international cuisine or a juicy, farm-fresh burger washed down with a home-brewed beer, you’ll find it served up in one of our many local eateries.

 GO TO visitcarsoncity.com/dining


» DINING

AMERICAN Battle Born Social 775-301-6695 318 N. Carson St. battlebornsocial.com The Fox Brewpub 775-883-1369 310 S. Carson St. foxbrewpub.com Gather 775-433-0200 402 N. Carson St. gathercc.com Joanie’s Creekside Café 775-841-3354 1795 E. College Pkwy Ste. 100

Red’s Old 395 Grill 775-887-0395 1055 S. Carson St. www.reds395.com Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint & Shoe Tree Brewery 775-884-4471 1500 Old Hot Springs Rd. sassafrascarsoncity.com Scoups Ice Cream & Soup Bar 775-297-3471 224 S. Carson St. The Union 775-885-7307 302 N. Carson St. theunioncarson.com

Living the Good Life 775-841-4663 1480 N. Carson St.

Vino’s Pizza 775-887-7437 3228 N. Carson St. ordervinospizzamenu.com

Mom & Pop’s Diner 775-884-4411 224 S. Carson St. mompopsdiner.com

Wally’s Pizza & Subs 775-883-2608 4600 Snyder Ave. wallys.pizza

Paul Schat’s Bakery 775-888-9090 1212 S. Stewart St. schatsbakeries.com

INTERNATIONAL

The Basil 775-841-6100 311 N. Carson St. thebasilrestaurant.com

& BEST HAPPY HOUR FOR A REASON COME TRY OUR BANK OF 101 BEERS

Bella Vita Bistro & Catering 775-515-4300 1304 S. Stewart St. bellavitabistro.com

Flavors of India 775-461-0713 1105 S. Carson St. foinevada.com

Bleu Café 775-297-3301 240 E. Winnie Ln. bleucafecarson.com

Francisco’s 775-461-0297 1310 S. Stewart franciscos.net

El Charro Avitia 775-883-6261 4389 S. Carson St. elcharroavitianv.com

Garibaldi’s Italian Kitchen 775-884-4574 307 N. Carson St.

Hours Mon-Thu: 2PM - 9PM Fri: 2PM - 10PM Sat: 12PM - 10PM Sun: 12PM - 8PM 1496 old hot springs rd i carson city i NV 89706 i 775.222.0108 i shoetreebrewing.com

10 • CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019


» DINING

Kei Sushi 775-841-1102 3220 US Hwy 50 Ste. 4 keisushi.com

Pho Country 775-882-0200 2495 N. Carson St. phocountry.net/index.html

Kim Lee’s Sushi 775-883-2372 319 N. Carson St.

Playa Azul Mexican Restaurant 775-883-2244 415 E. William St.

kimleesushi.com The Lady Tamales 775-841-6533 933 Woodside Dr.

Saffron 775-410-3333 1301 N. Carson St. saffrondine.com

Mangia Tutto 775-461-3353 200 N. Stewart St. mangiatuttopizzeria.com

San Marcos Grill 775-882-9797 260 E. Winnie Ln. sanmarcosgrill.com

The Martin Hotel 775-461-0441 308 N. Curry St. themartinhotel.com

Thai Thai 775-883-7905 1300 S. Stewart St.

Mi Casa Too 775-882-4080 1935 N. Carson St. mi-casa-too-carsoncity.com Ming’s Restaurant 775-887-8878 2330 S. Carson St. carsonmings.com Panda Kitchen 775-882-8128 1986 US Hwy 50 nvpandakitchen.com

Tito’s Mexican Restaurant 775-885-0309 444 E. William St. Tomo Sushi & Grill 775-397-3581 135 E. Clearview Dr. Ste. 127 Villa Basque Café 775-884-4451 730 Basque Way villabasquecafe.com

Yang’s Kitchen 775-888-6889 111 E. Telegraph St. yangskitchencarsoncity.com Z Bistro 775-885-2828 725 Basque Way atzbistro.com

COFFEE/BAKERY

FINE DINING

Artisan Bakeworks Café 775-283-0164 701 S. Carson St. cafeartisans.com

Café at Adele’s 775-882-3353 1112 N. Carson St. adelesrestaurantandlounge.com

Comma Coffee 775-883-2662 312 S. Carson St. commacoffeecafe.com

start the morning or afternoon off right...

come try our breakfasts or lunches! enjoy hearty plates of delectable food that will get your morning and afternoon going!

Glen Eagles 775-884-4414 3700 N. Carson St. gleneaglesrestaurant.com

Word:

delicious With a focus on organic, sustainable and local ingredients, Adele’s offers a varied menu of fresh seafood, steaks, pasta and much more.

Breakfast • Lunch • Coffee and Espresso • Cakes Morning Pastries • Desserts • Cupcakes • Catering Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Diabetic Items

775-885-2253 1280 North Curry Street Carson City

www.labakerycafe.com Voted one of the best restaurants in Carson City

Breakfast Lunch • Dinner

Open Tuesday – Sunday

w

1112 North Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701 Call for reservations: (775) 882-3353

adelesrestaurantandlounge.com f adelesrestaurantandlounge CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 11


» DINING

Expresso Yourself Café 775-883-1978 449 W. King St. L.A. Bakery 775-885-2253 1280 N. Curry St. labakerycafe.com Paul Schat’s Bakery 775-888-9090 1212 S. Stewart St. schatsbakeries.com

BREAKFAST The Cracker Box 775-882-4556 402 E. William St. thecrackerboxdiner.com Heidi’s Family Restaurant 775-882-0486 1020 N. Carson St. Peg’s Glorified Ham n Eggs 775-888-9300 3697 S. Carson St. eatatpegs.com Red Hut Café 775-461-0038 4385 S. Carson St. redhutcafe.com

 Complete dining guide available at the Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority  VISIT our offices: 716 N. Carson St. 775-687-7410

Voted Best Pizza in Carson City

2010 East Williams St. | Carson City, NV 89701 775-434-7144 12 • CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019


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“I am the trend. It’s my aesthetic. They’re buying a little piece of my soul made out of metal and rock.”

Forging Fashion WITH AN EYE FOR THE BOLD AND COLORFUL, CARSON CITY JEWELER CREATES SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS | BY TERI VANCE

A

s an artist and jewelry maker, Denise Jenkins keeps an eye on the fashion world. “In January, I’ll look at the colors of the year,” she said. “I look at the New York scene.” But when she sits down to create a piece of jewelry, the inspiration comes from within. “I am the trend,” she said. “It’s my aesthetic. They’re buying a little piece of my soul made out of metal and rock.” It only makes sense. Her entry into the jewelry-crafting world was just as organic. While in art school, she took a jewelry class to meet the requirement for sculpture credits. Wearing her own creation to a bar one night, she ran into a group of women from the Tri Delta sorority. “One of them said, ‘I like your ring,’” Jenkins recalled. “I offered to make her one.” That turned into an agreement where Jenkins made key chains, rings and bracelets for the sorority in exchange for tuition fees. “By the time we were seniors, there were engagements and weddings and such,” she said. “I was very grateful. They paid for my school.”

Denise Jenkins shapes silver inside the studio of her Carson City home where she creates six to 10 pieces of jewelry a day.

FOLLOW @METALDREAMER.DENISE ON INSTAGRAM CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 15


Still, her father feared she needed a more steady livelihood, so she took a teaching job. “It was a challenge,” she said. “I hated it. So I quit.” For the past 30 years, she’s made her living in the arts. Mostly, she creates jewelry, but she also paints — landscapes, still life and portraits — and plays the Celtic fiddle. “When I get sick of metal, I grab a fiddle and go crazy,” she said. Her studio is set up in the north Carson City home she shares with her engineer husband, Mike, where she works an average of 60 hours a week. She creates six to 10 pieces a day that she sells in eight galleries, the occasional fair and online at Etsy and Instagram. Hands down, she said, she sells mostly earrings and “big, huge knuckle-busting rings.” It’s the same kind of ring she likes to wear when playing the fiddle, to balance out her bow. She keeps her price point affordable, usually charging between $80 to $300. “At the end of the year, I have less than 10 pieces that I’ve not been able to sell,” she said. Jeffery Pace, owner of Carson City’s Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery — which features the work of 60 Northern Nevada artists — said Jenkins’ jewelry is a hit in his store. “She’s probably my best-selling artist,” he said. “Her work is very earthy and everything is a oneof-a-kind piece. She’s also a very accommodating jeweler. If someone wants this or that, she will work with them.” Jenkins forges the metal in her own studio and Above: Denise Jenkins shows some of the stones she purchases from around the world. At right, she works on a bracelet. Next page: Jenkins talks about the connection she feels to the customers who buy her jewelry.

16 • CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019

shapes it with an anvil. “All blacksmiths use the same tools,” she said. “We’re all going to use the same setup — a hammer and a big torch with fire.” Her stones come from all over the world. “I purchase directly from the miners,” she said. “I know how many carats, how much each is and where they all came from.” While she relies on her own spark to design the pieces, once they are created, she releases them.

“Once I make it, it’s not mine anymore,” she said. “They’ll zoom in on the one thing. They’re drawn to something. I didn’t know it, but I made it for that person.” It’s all about making that connection. “People like to wear adornment,” Jenkins said. “It’s a way of telling the world who they are. It’s everybody’s story, I just facilitate it. I give you the wherewithal to indulge in your lust for really decadent stuff.”


CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 17


» ART

Carson City Art Walk The Carson City Art Walk features artists and galleries, all located within walking dis-tance of downtown. The walk leads art lovers on a self-guided tour of the city’s culture and heritage highlights.

Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery 405 N. Nevada St. 775-885-2787 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday www.artsyfartsyartgallery.com Bluu Art Gallery 220-A W. Telegraph St. 775-461-3510 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday bluugallery.com Brewery Art Center — Nevada Artist Association Gallery 449 W. King St. 775-882-6411 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday www.nevadaartists.org 18 • CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019

Capital City Arts Initiative • 885 E. Musser St. - Courthouse Gallery 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday • 851 E. Williams St. - Sierra Room During public meetings/by appointment • 108 E. Proctor St. - BRIC Gallery 775-721-7424 8 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. Monday-Friday www.arts-initiative.org Charlie B Gallery 114 W. Telegraph St. 775-575.-7333 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday www.charliebgallery.com


» ART

Comma Coffee – Backseat Gallery 312 S. Carson St. 775-883-2662 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday www.commacoffee.com

Nevada State Legislature Art Galleries – LXS Gallery 401 S. Carson St. 775-684-6800 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday www.leg.state.nv.us

Ogres-Holm Pottery 1215 S. Carson St. Carson Mall 775-461-3616 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday www.ogresholmpottery.com

Nevada State Museum 600 N. Carson St. 775-687-4810 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday www.nvculture.org/museums

Nevada Art Council – OXS Gallery 716 N. Carson St., second floor 775-687-6680 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday www.nvculture.org/nevadaartscouncil

Nevada State Railroad Museum 2180 S. Carson St. 775-687-6953 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday-Monday www.nvculture.org/museums

Previous page: At top, ceramic sculpture by Barbara Prodaniuk at Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery; below, blown glass by Ken and Ingrid Hanson at Bluu Art Gallery. Above: Bristlecone Building Art Gallery at Western Nevada College.

Stewart Indian School 5500 Snyder Ave. 775-687-8333 Self-Guided Tours www.nvculture.org/indiancommission Timeless Sculpture Outdoor Garden 5100 S. Carson St. 775-230-1718 www.timelesssculptures.com Battle Born Hall Nevada Capitol 101 N. Carson St. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday Western Nevada College Bristlecone Building Art Gallery 2201 W. College Parkway 775-445-3000 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday www.wnc.edu CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 19


» ART

MURALS

Battle Born by Abner Rivera N. Carson and Bath streets Green Springs Ranch in Eureka by Don & Trish Reynolds Stewart and Proctor streets Home Means Nevada by Erik Burke 2001 N. Carson St. Strings of Imagination by Bryce Chisholm King and Minnesota streets Sunset Tree by Mauricio Sandoval 107 W. Telegraph St.

Above: Home Means Nevada Mural by Erik Burke.

20 • CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019

Visual Growth by Erik Burke Across from 904 N. Curry St.


» BEST OF

Come see us; we’ll blow you away Each year, the readers of Nevada Magazine choose their favorite places to eat, visit and shop throughout the Silver State. “Our 21st annual readers’ survey made one thing abundantly clear—readers from our rural areas are fervent about their favorite establishments,” the magazine reported. “While voting is always robust, tallying this year’s winners

proved that Nevada’s smaller towns love their homegrown businesses and attractions.” Many Carson City businesses were chosen among the best in the state in the rural category. If you’re looking for the best of the best, be sure to stop in.

BEST ART GALLERY

BEST CASINO

BEST FINE DINING

BEST PLACE TO SHOP

Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery 405 N. Nevada St.

Casino Fandango 3800 S. Carson St.

The Purple Avocado 904 N. Curry St.

BEST BAKERY

BEST CHEF

Duke’s Steakhouse – Casino Fandango 3800 S. Carson St.

LA Bakery Café 1280 N. Curry St.

Charlie Abowd, Café at Adele’s 1112 N. Carson St.

BEST FOOD FESTIVAL

Taste of Downtown

Café at Adele’s 1112 N. Carson St.

BEST HIGH SCHOOL

BEST SPECIAL EVENT

BEST COMEDY

Carson High School

Nevada Day Parade

BEST MUSEUM

BEST SUSHI

Nevada State Museum 600 N. Carson St.

Kei Sushi 3220 Highway 50 #4

BEST BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

Café at Adele’s 1112 N. Carson St. BEST BUFFET

Casino Fandango 3800 S. Carson St.

Carson Nugget Comedy Club 507 N. Carson St. BEST ENTERTAINMENT

BEST RESTAURANT

Lacy J Dalton Various locations CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 21


» CULTURE

Making a Mark on History AS A STUDENT AT STEWART INDIAN SCHOOL, CLARK KOWCHEE LEARNED TO PAINT. HIS ARTWORK IS STILL ON THE WALLS, DECADES AFTER ITS CLOSURE | BY TERI VANCE Clark Kowchee continues to create paintings from his studio in in Phoenix, Ariz. Above: Paintings discovered at Stewart Indian School were painted by Clark Kowchee, who was a student there in 1979-80.


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lark Kowchee credits Stewart Indian School with leaving an indelible mark on him. After having some trouble in public school in his Utah hometown, he enrolled in the boarding school at the end of his sophomore year in 1979. “When I was going to school at Stewart, that really opened up a whole new chapter with painting and more creativity,” he said. “That’s when I really started getting into the basics of my art. The staff and the teachers and everyone there were really supportive of anybody who was trying to accomplish something.” The following year, he left his mark in return on the school. His art teacher offered Kowchee the chance to paint a selection of murals on the classroom walls, and he readily accepted. He painted traditional American Indian faces, with war bonnets and teepees in the background. That year, however, was the school’s last. The dorms and classrooms were shuttered. The students scattered. Kowchee moved to Litchfield Park, Ariz., where he continues to live with his wife, Marlena, and son, Tiger. He drives a shuttle bus for the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The State of Nevada acquired the Stewart Indian School campus in the 1990s and uses it for classes, training and agency offices. The Nevada Indian Commission is housed in the former superintendent’s home. With $4.5 million in capital improvement funds allotted from the state, work is under way on a project to restore the campus and create a cultural center and museum. As part of the restoration process, Bobbi Rahder, museum director, toured all of the buildings, some of which have been closed and used primarily for storage. “We wanted to understand how these buildings had been used in the past,” Rahder said. “When we got in there, we found these murals.” Nobody seemed to know how long they’d been there or who had painted them. “We put them on Facebook to share with our followers that we’d found these great paintings,” Rahder said. “They were still in great shape despite the fact that the building hadn’t been kept up. We were really pleased to see them.” The post went up in July 2018. In September, Kowchee saw the images.

“I was pretty excited to see them there — actually looking at them after all these years,” he said. He called the school to let them know he was the artist. “It was so cool,” Rahder recalled. “We were so excited to talk to him and know he was still painting.” Kowchee paints out of his studio in a plant where he works part-time. He sells them mostly by word-of-mouth to customers on his shuttle bus. Although his work highlights American Indian heritage, his customers are from all walks of life. “I grew up with Indian culture, around the songs and dancing and languages,” he said. “It’s always been inside me.” He said looking at the murals at the school shows him his progression in technique.

Clark Kowchee displays his current work.

“It still looked really good, but on the other hand, I’ve come so far from then to now,” he said. Kowchee donated a piece of artwork to this year’s American Indian Achievement Awards Banquet hosted by the Nevada Indian Commission. Rahder said she hopes to find a way to preserve the murals created by Kowchee and other artists. The Stewart Indian School Cultural Center and Museum is slated to open in fall 2019, with a planned exhibit featuring the school’s history. “Clark is very modest. He’s very humble,” Rahder said. “But we really love his art, and we’d love to feature it.” CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019 • 23


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» LODGING

Places to stay in Carson City HOTELS & CASINOS

Americas Best Value Inn 2731 S. Carson St. 775-882-2007 americasbestvalueinn.com Wyndham Garden/Max Casino 900 S. Carson St. 775-883-0900 maxcasinocc.com Carson Tahoe Hotel 800 N. Carson St. 775-882-5535 ccnugget.com/hotel Courtyard Carson City 3870 S. Carson St. 775-887-9900 marriott.com Gold Dust West CC Hotel 2171 E. William St. 775-885-9000 gdwcasino.com Hampton Inn & Suites Carson City 10 Hospitality Way 775-885-8800 HIexpress.com Hardman House 917 N. Carson St. 775-882-7744 hardmanhousehotel.com

Holiday Inn Express & Suites 4055 N. Carson St. 775-283-4055

Plaza Hotel & Event Center 801 S. Carson St. 775-883-9500 carsoncityplaza.com

Days Inn 3103 N. Carson St. 775-461-3701 daysinn.com

Motel 6 2749 S. Carson St. 775-885-7710 motel6.com

Super 8 2829 S. Carson St. 775-883-7800 super8.com

Bliss Bungalow 408 W. Robinson St. 775-230-0641 blissbungalow.com Mill House Inn 3251 S. Carson St. 775-882-2715 Saint Charles Hotel 310 S. Carson St. 775-220–9977 Rodeway Inn/Trailside Inn 1300 N. Carson St. 775-883-7300 rodewayinn.com/hotels/ nv075 RV PARKS

Camp-N-Town 2438 N. Carson St. 775-883-1123 campntown.com Comstock Country RV & Resort 5400 S. Carson St. 775-882-2445 comstockrv.com Gold Dust West RV Park 2171 E. William St. 775-885-9000 gdwcasino.com

 visitcarsoncity.com/lodging 28 • CARSON CITY VISITORS GUIDE | WINTER 2019


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