Contributed by Geralda Miller 

Geralda Miller is executive director of Art Spot Reno. Before accomplishing her dream gig, she worked as a reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal and The Associated Press.

Katy Ann Fox is elated to be one of the 10 women that will be painting murals during the Elko Mural Expo, Sept. 26 through Sept. 29.

“I think this is a really beautiful thing that we get to work together,” she said.

An oil painter living in Jackson, Wyoming, Fox said the art world is no different from many other professions in being male driven. Male artists still earn the highest wages, receive the most recognition, and she believes, are given the most respect.

“We’re in the moment when this is starting to change,” she said.

And Art Spot Reno, the nonprofit organization coordinating the Expo, wanted to ensure that the artistic makeup included a visible number of women. Erik Burke, a board member and consultant for the Expo who has painted murals around the world, said having a mission for diversity, equity and inclusion contributes to a broader world view.

“My experience in the mural scene is that it is dominated by males of privilege and, if that is the voice creating work in the public space, then it is a very narrow perception of the world,” he said. 

The women painting walls with Fox are: Christina Angelina, from Los Angeles; Jennifer Charboneau, from Reno, NV;  Jamie Darragh, from Reno, NV; Gina Joy Holmberg, from Elko; Leslie King, from Long Beach, Calif.; Rachel Pittario, from Elko, NV; Angie Terrell, from Reno, NV; and Simone Turner, from Elko, NV; and Heather Wines, from Elko, NV.

While Angelina is an internationally-known street artist who has been painting murals for seven years, this will be Fox’s first time out of her studio, making a wall her canvas. But it won’t be her first time in northeastern Nevada.  

When Fox left her hometown in Idaho and moved to San Francisco to attain a Masters degree in Fine Art at the Academy of Art University, her parents moved to Winnemucca. She spent her summers working as a recreation technician for the Bureau of Land Management.

“I got to go to Black Rock,” she said. “I got to see that land. At first, I was bored by it but then it started to creep into my art.”

After graduating, Fox participated in the Reno Art Fest, winning best display in 2012. She returned the following year and won juror’s choice. She said those art festivals helped her build relationships in Reno and kept her connected to a landscape she had grown very fond of.

She apprenticed with two muralists during the Reno Mural Expo in 2017 – Dr. Chip Thomas, from the Navajo Nation and David Kim, from San Francisco. It was her first time painting on a scissor lift, watching an artist use the grid method to paint a wall to scale, and mixing latex paint colors.

“It was so cool to be on the street,” she said. “I’m an oil painter. This is the moment when I get to translate my paintings into something bigger. I think it’s going to work out because why wouldn’t it. This is going to be awesome.”

Elko Mural Expo

Elko Mural Expo,
A major arts event that will bring 36 artists, 9 local and 25 regional, and two international artists to downtown Elko.

September 26 – 29

Walls in downtown Elko

Expo includes an art exhibit at the Western Folklife Center, art lectures, film screenings, live music, workshops, mural tours, an Elko DBA sponsored special wine walk, and urban art exhibits in local downtown galleries.