Artists visit Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada

Window mural painted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada Teen Center members and visiting artist Zet Gold.

Window mural painted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada Teen Center members and visiting artist Zet Gold.

Las Vegas artist and illustrator Zet Gold, 25, unveiled the entryway mural she created for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada on Monday, as part of a visiting artist grant through the Nevada Arts Council and Southwest Gas.

Brad Harris, vice president of the Northern Nevada and California divisions of Southwest Gas said the company chose to support this project because of the combination of supporting the arts as well as the development of the community’s youth and future leaders.

“Our employees see the importance of education and they value art in the community,” he said. “We support the Boys & Girls Clubs’ effort to help with education and development, and this project not only speaks to what’s in the minds of the kids, but also to what’s in their hearts. This project is a memorial to that and we wanted to be a part of it.”

The artist said she drew her inspiration from the energetic, loud and fun atmosphere at the Club, where she spent several days presenting workshops and lessons to Club members.

“This past week has been amazing,” she said. “Art is a tool to make an impact, and the kids really responded, asking a lot of questions. I kept thinking ‘it’s not cool enough, I want to make it perfect for the kids.’”

Gold arrived in Carson City on March 10, and spent a whirlwind 10 days teaching classes at the Clubs, as well as visiting with the Carson City Cultural Commission, the Nevada Arts Council and participating in Arts at the Legislature Day. In between, she found time to create the mural and paint a window mural with the teens at the Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Center.

Gold said the teens worked together with her on the mural.

“We drew shapes, then we created faces and connected them together, like a community,” she said. “First they wanted them to just look good, then they started having fun with them and naming them.”

Graham, age 14 and a member of the Teen Center who helped create the window mural, said the artist’s program helped to bring people together.

“People who don’t normally participate in programs joined in,” he said. “We learned about different types of art, and how you can go and learn about art yourself.”

More than just the explaining the process of creation, Gold said she wanted to inspire kids with her own story.

“I was that kid that never thought I’d be an artist,” she said. “I came from a low-income family, and in my Filipino culture, we were taught to find stability in a career. Music and art were just outside the realm of possibility.”

While she said her family was hesitant about her choice to pursue life as an artist, they’re now fully supportive.

“They’re seeing I’m going for it,” she said. “Now they tell me to get in there and make an impact.”

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong, a long-standing member of the Clubs’ board, said he was in favor of the project from the beginning because of the impact art can have.

“Art inspires kids,” he said. “They can see themselves in it.”

Zarek, age 8, pointed to a bird and said he liked it because he likes animals.

“I like this one,” Lily, age 8, said. “He’s funny.”

Mason, age 5, said he liked the smallest character, because he was little, like himself.

Matt Sampson, director of operations for the Clubs, said Gold’s visit elicited positive reactions from Clubs members who went from stand-offish in the beginning, to “going in for a hug” whenever they saw Gold.

“We are grateful for Southwest Gas and the Nevada Arts Council for their gift of art to our members,” he said. “The kids are really excited about the mural and were proud to play a role in its creation. We are also eternally grateful for Zet Gold and her whimsical, imaginative portrayal of our kids and their futures.”


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