The Bob Ruud Community Center has taken on a new look to its exterior wall along Basin Avenue.
Those who have passed by the building recently may have noticed a colorful Southwest-themed mural adorning the facade.
Pahrump Tourism Director Arlette Ledbetter said the town’s tourism office was awarded $8,000 earlier this year for a fully-funded ‘Voluntourism Impact Grant’ for the town mural project to be displayed at the center.
Ledbetter noted that the initial intent was for members of the Pahrump Arts Council (PAC) to develop the mural, but that effort did not come to pass due to time constraints, as the arts council indicated the completion deadline of Dec. 30 was not doable.
The Pahrump Valley High School and Rosemary Clarke Middle School art departments also declined to take on the project
Ledbetter also said that if the artwork was not completed by the deadline date, the grant would be forfeited.
She noted that the town’s mural project will feature a “Safe and Open” message.
The grant was made possible through Coronavirus Relief Funds through the federal CARES Act and administered by the Nevada Division of Tourism, also known as Travel Nevada where the goal is to promote the community to “Stay Safe to Stay Open for Visitors.”
“Destination Development Specialist with Travel Nevada, Juraj ‘George’ Sojka, reached out to Reno-based artist, Bryce Chisholm, of Abc Art Attack, and Bryce connected with me and contracted to complete the mural in an ‘Americana’ theme,” Ledbetter said. “The artist’s design will include the American flag and a wild horse in a contemporary setting. The messaging ‘Stay Safe to Stay Open’ is part of the grant criteria and will be clearly visible with the artwork.”
Meeting the challenge
Once artist Bryce Chisholm was contacted about the project, he agreed to proceed with painting the mural, while noting that he has put in roughly eight hours each day.
“They contacted me and I said, yeah, I think I can make that happen,” Chisholm said. “Arlette actually had several ideas about the Americana theme. Arlette has been my contact and she was the one that put this all together for me and got me involved with all of it. I have to thank her for her efforts.”
Additionally, Chisholm embarked on the project unaccompanied.
“I’m doing this by myself and I am kind of used to that,” he said. “I have done it enough times that I know what I need to do to make it happen. It’s kind of like one of my philosophies, which is yes I can, and I show up and do it.”
High profile murals aside, Chisholm said he actually began his career as a canvas artist where he creates originals, custom paintings, and more.
“I am in galleries in New Mexico, California, and Northern Nevada,” he said. “I still paint on canvas, but, over the last eight or nine years, I have been doing large-scale murals. This is my first time spending time in Pahrump. I actually drove through here before, but I never stayed the night and spent any quality time here, so this is a first for me. The beloved part of what I do involves meeting the community where people are driving by and honking and coming up and saying hello. It’s really nice to meet the community like that.”
It’s all relative
Additionally, Chisholm, who was born in Reno, and inspired by his father and uncle, has also painted murals in Carson City, Elko, Fernley, and Las Vegas.
“My dad was a contractor in the construction trade and I tried to take the skills that he passed along to me and apply it in the art world,” he said. “I like the creativity aspect along with the technical construction skill. When I was a kid, I had an uncle who was a painter. It was completely different from what I do, but I really liked the creative aspect of it.”
One other individual who enjoyed Chisholm’s creativity is three-year Pahrump resident Eddy Arroio, who is a semi-retired sign designer.
On Thursday of this week, Arroio stopped by the community center as the colorful mural piqued his interest.
“This guy is doing a great job and I really like it,” Arroio said. “I actually drove by here about four days ago and all he had was the colors on the wall. My wife and I looked at the color pattern and thought it was really nice, so we stopped by and asked him what he was doing. He told us he was going to add a horse and Bob Ruud’s face, with a flag in the background and some mountains. He said to come back in a few days and it will be done, so here I am and he’s almost done with it, so he ain’t messing around.”
More to come
Ledbetter, meanwhile noted that the Pahrump Office of Tourism has long considered a mural trail in the area.
“The community center mural can be considered the inaugural project with future projects and grants to follow,” she noted. “The murals are very successful in other communities across America by enhancing local pride, increasing tourism, and providing photo opportunities. Outdoor wall murals also help attract a significant number of visitors dedicated to such artwork. Street art can evoke emotion, entertain and bring people together. Even in this tumultuous year, mural tours are still being conducted as a socially distanced safe activity. There have been many new works inspired by the pandemic.”
To view additional paintings created by Chisholm, visit his website at abcartattack.com
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes