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Display of Schubert photos made possible by arts grant

by Christina Harvey

A $2,439 grant from the Nevada Arts Council will make it possible for the Carson Valley Historical Society to display an exhibit of the late Valley photographer Juanita Schubert’s work.

The exhibit, called “Juanita Schubert Rediscovered,” will include 100 black and white 8×10 photographs of Sierra Nevada nature scenes, area residents and the depiction of ranch life in Carson Valley.

The exhibit will also include one 16×20 sepia toned photograph entitled “Off to the Mountains,” taken by Schubert in the early 1940’s. The photo pictures a local cowboy moving Dangberg cattle from the home ranch to their summer pasture in the mountains. It won the Photographer Society of America’s 100 Best Prints for 1943 and was shown as part of a traveling exhibit through the United States for two years. During this period it was also displayed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

Cecile Brown, the historical society museum curator, estimates the exhibit will open Sept. 1 at the Carson Valley Historical Society and the Genoa Courthouse. The photographs will rotate between the two museums.

“I think her photographs show life as it was in a different time in the Carson Valley,” Brown said. “Back then things were slower, easier. Her pictures are indicative of a time gone by.”

Schubert, who spent 37 years in the Carson Valley, was born in Buenos Aires. Though she considered herself an amateur, Brown said her work is truly of professional quality.

In 1938 Schubert sought the advice of Ansel Adams, who was generous with his time and knowledge and encouraged her to learn to do her own processing.

When Schubert died in 1978 at the age of 75, she left 1,122 photographs and box of negatives to the historical society.

Brown said she is excited to have the opportunity to exhibit Schubert’s work as a result of the arts grant.

“It’s definitely an honor,” she said. “The council does art for art’s sake, not for any other reason. They just want to get the art into the community.”

The grant money will be used for printing, framing and matting the photography. A catalog of Schubert’s work will also be created and printed by the historical society for use as a free guide with the exhibit.

Brown said she requested $4,000 from the council, but she still plans to produce the exhibit in its entirety despite the shortage of funds.

“We’ll just have to be more creative with our work efforts,” she said.

Brown explained the grant process is dependent upon the amount of money that’s available from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as upon the Nevada legislature and its appropriations.

“We were actually able to get a little more money than we would have because the legislators, during the last week of sessions, were able to find more funds,” Brown said.

The legislature increased the available grant funds by $56,000 for the next 2 years.

The Nevada Arts Council awarded $787,039 to 102 Nevada Organizations. Grant applications topped $1,000,000 in requests.