Artists and inventors have a space in Sparks to make their creations become reality.
Since its inception in 2013, The Generator has been providing an art space from people of all walks of life to come in and build/create. Offering artists, builders, and inventors a 34,000-square-foot building equipped with industrial equipment, three-phase power, and a collective know-how, The Generator encourages inspiration and growth for the community.
“The Generator works in a collective fashion, giving everyone the chance to learn,” says The Generator’s founder and creative director Matt Schultz. “We want to bring creativity and joy to Washoe Valley and help bring up the rest of the community. ‘’
The Generator keeps 43 resident artists who need a consistent workspace and also hosts 12 temporary projects for people who need a place to build their project that could take anywhere from a week to six months (projects range from greenhouses to Burning Man art cars).
Although activity at The Generator _ located in an industrial area at 1240 Icehouse Ave. _ is slow in the winter, Schultz says that it ramps up in the spring and doubles again in the summer as Northern Nevada braces itself for the annual Burning Man festival.
Since the art space was founded around an early Burning Man project, The Generator operates under the same ten principles as outlined in Burning Man’s code of ethics.
“We don’t ask for money, but we do ask the artists to contribute their knowledge and support the creative community. They can assist in our shops, host a teaching workshop, or teach people one-on-one how to weld or use a band saw if they have that knowledge,” says Schultz.
Currently The Generator holds a workshop, metal shop, art gallery, computer labs, a stage, and more for anyone to come in and create. Artists bring all of their own consumables and The Generator matches it with the space and equipment.
“When an artist comes in to build something like that, we provide 90 percent of the tools and they are expected to contribute that last 10 percent,” says Schultz. “The Generator’s robust amount of volunteers teach people whatever it is they want to learn, build, and inspire throughout the entire community.’’
Schultz said about 50 people donated time, monies, and other support for The Generator when it was established. Currently there is a board of four directors and three staff members who are employed by the non-profit.
In choosing Sparks as the place to host The Generator, Schultz said they looked at about 60 industrial spaces in the region and after a few months narrowed it down to three options. “We enjoy where we’re at; the space allows us to play and have creative freedom,” he says.
“We’re next to the train tracks and around other industrial buildings, so we can build late at night and run power tools without infringing on anyone’s quality of life.’’
However, Schultz realizes that Northern Nevada is back in a housing bubble and so they are always checking out other spaces.
“When we moved into the industrial space prices were reasonable but now they’re bloated,” he said. Schultz adds that their rent goes up every year and the tax/maintenance fees are passed on to the renters.
“It’s challenging for nonprofits,” he says. The Generator will soon make another fundraising push to try to raise money to stay in the space.
“My favorite piece of The Generator is the community and encouraging creative growth, especially in the winter when it can be hard to motivate,” says Schultz.
The Generator is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about the space, visit www.therenogenerator.com.