Real news. Real stories. Real voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Supported by

Exhibit highlights Paul Revere Williams' architectural work in Nevada

Janna Ireland
Nevada Museum of Art

An architect renowned for his work, but also for breaking racial barriers, has been the focus of a photo exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno.

With no similar museum in Las Vegas, the exhibit focusing on the life and work of Paul Revere Williams is now being shown at the Nevada State Museum Las Vegas on the campus of Springs Preserve.

Carmen Beals is the associate curator and Las Vegas outreach director for the Nevada Museum of Art. She joined State of Nevada host Joe Schoenmann along with photographer Janna Ireland.

""Not only did he create designs starting in 1934 in Reno, Nevada, but he also went to small, teeny tiny towns, such as Dyer and Lovelock to create fabulous, wonderfully-built structures which encompasses so many of the socioeconomic levels," Beals said. "And I just really loved, right here in Southern Nevada, that he intentionally created a suburb called Berkeley Square, which is for the African American community, and it ended up being the first middle class suburb of Nevada."

She and Ireland also toured the Lovelock site, which remains today.

"One thing that happened both to Williams and to me about 100 years later, is that as high school students, we had teachers who we confided in about our goals tell us that we were kind of reaching too high," Ireland said. "When I started learning about Williams and the things that he went through, I thought about the places where our stories kind of connect to each other, but also all the places that they diverge. And all of the ways that my life has been easier because of people like Williams, who opened many doors."

Additional exhibit information

Nicknamed “Architect to the Stars,” Paul Revere Williams (1894-1980) was the first licensed African American architect to work in the western region of the United States. Among his client list were Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and E.L. Cord, and he is associated with several architectural icons of Los Angeles including the Beverly Hills Hotel and the LAX Airport. Despite these and many other accomplishments, Williams’ work is often underrecognized, including many of his architectural contributions in Nevada. Presented by the Nevada Museum of Art and hosted at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, Janna
Ireland on the Architectural Legacy of Paul Revere Williams in Nevada, focuses on Williams’ work through the photographs of contemporary artist Janna Ireland.

The exhibition is on display at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas from December 3, 2022 through May 30, 2023.

Since 2016, Ireland has captured Williams’ architecture from a fine arts perspective, producing photographs that highlight the intimate interior and exterior details of his buildings while bringing her own poetic response to Williams’ work. Ireland’s initial body of photographs focused on Williams’ work in Southern California. In 2021, Ireland was named a Peter E. Pool Research Fellow of the Center for Art + Environment of the Nevada Museum of Art, a fellowship which supports the study and photography of Williams’ Nevada work. These photographs are on view for the first time in the exhibition.

Guests: Carmen Beals, associate curator and outreach director, Nevada Museum of Art Las Vegas; Janna Ireland, photographer

Stay Connected
Mike has been a producer for State of Nevada since 2019. He produces — and occasionally hosts — segments covering entertainment, gaming & tourism, sports, health, Nevada’s marijuana industry, and other areas of Nevada life.
Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the audience engagement specialist for Nevada Public Radio. She curates and creates content for, our weekly newsletter and social media for Nevada Public Radio and Desert Companion.