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The main goal of the exhibit Tilting the Basin is obvious: to survey the contemporary art — painting, sculpture, photography and more — being made in Nevada. It’s a bold attempt, first in a decade, to see what crosscurrents exist in such a diverse state and to make an outward-facing statement about the quality of work being done here.

Only slightly less obvious is its secondary purpose, at least as pertains to its March 17 opening in an ad hoc space Downtown: Imagine seeing this in a freestanding art museum. Indeed, one of the sponsoring organizations (along with Reno’s Nevada Museum of Art) is a nonprofit called Art Museum at Symphony Park — a park where, at present, there is no art museum. An effort to rectify that is underway, and this exhibit aims to help.

The show’s 34 artists comprise an idealized friends list for anyone interested in Silver State art: such Southern Nevada stalwarts as Sush Machida Gaikotsu, JK Russ, Chris Bauder and Wendy Kveck. Northern Nevada is represented by Galen Brown, Katie Lewis and more. (Full disclosure: Desert Companion designer Brent Holmes is also included.) “Their work is informed by popular culture, the natural environment and landscape, as well as cultural identity, politics and current events,” says JoAnne Northrup, Nevada Museum of Art’s curatorial director.

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Timed to the exhibit will be several talks and programs. At 6p on March 17, Katie O’Neill of the Art Museum at Symphony Park and Reno museum boss David Walker will talk about what it might mean to the community to have a new art museum here. At 2p on March 18, several of the show’s artists, north and south, will join curators to talk about contemporary art in Nevada. 

Through May 14, free, 920 S. Commerce St., nevadaart.org

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