Co-founded in 1931 by Dr. James Church, an early climate scientist, humanist, and lover of art, the Museum in its early days was run by a small group of outdoor landscape painters. Designed by internationally renowned architect Will Bruder, the present Museum facility opened in 2003 in Reno’s downtown Liberty district. The four-level, 70,000-square-foot building is inspired by geological formations in northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, and serves as a visual metaphor for the institution’s scholarly focus on art and environment.
NMA collaborated with the founders of Burning Man to assemble a collection of never-before-seen photos, artifacts, journals, sketches and notebooks that span the decades since the festival’s inception. In 2017, they unveiled “City of Dust: The Evolution of Burning Man,” to explain the story of how this world-renowned week on the playa got its start. The exhibition helps reveal the maker culture behind the festival and the anti-capitalistic approach that has helped ensure Burning Man’s enduring appeal for people of all ages and cultures.
Bently Foundation was proud to be the lead sponsor of this exhibit with its $100,000 grant awarded in 2017. City of Dust proved to be the most successful endeavor in the museum's history, and went on to tour myriad other museums across the country, starting with the Smithsonian.
Photos courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art