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PHOTOS: Rhyolite’s larger-than-life “Lady” gets a touch-up

RHYOLITE —In its heyday, Rhyolite had plenty of painted ladies, but in modern times its only painted lady has been Belgian artist Hugo Heyrman’s “Venus of Nevada” or “Lady Desert” in the collection of Goldwell Open Air Museum.

The 25-foot-tall cinderblock sculpture, representing a pixelated female figure, was originally painted bright pink with bright yellow hair and a bright red base, but years of desert sun faded the bright colors to weak pastel shades.

In 2005 a group of female volunteers held a Pink Lady Painting Party to return her to her original vibrancy, but she faded again in the years since then.

Finally, on May 18 this year, the museum held another painting party, and six women, including some who took part in the 2005 event, repainted her again, so visitors can now view Heyrman’s work as it was originally finished.

Although they tackled the job with enthusiasm, the ladies were hot and exhausted when they finished the last of the work, painting the sculpture’s base.

Artist Michelle Graves, who led off painting the hair, says, “Preserving the sculptures at Goldwell is a fundamental part of the museum’s mission so I am honored and determined to put in the pretty tough physical labor to do so.”

Richard Stephens is a free-lance reporter living in Beatty.

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