Monuments and Masterpieces

The desire to be a tourist is stimulated by experiences and attractions. We’ll travel far and wide for monuments and masterpieces. The more random the display, the more rewarding. We seek memories; we chase nostalgia. If you’ve gone out of your way to take a picture with things like the Cabazon Dinosaurs or one of the Love Sculptures you know what I’m talking about. Perhaps you’ve journeyed to the Fremont Troll in Seattle or the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. There are certain things we oddly feel compelled to see and experience. We connect feelings with memories of theses places. The most powerful brand is one you can feel.

There are key ingredients that make these attractions great. They’re free, they’re art, and they’re often pointless and that’s exactly why we love them. Things don’t have to have a point to be important. Art displays, like the examples above, stir our imaginations. We have the freedom to make sense and assign our own level of significance. Anything that makes us imagine is a good thing. Sometimes the memory we cherish the most is the trip to see things like the biggest ball of twine, not necessarily the ball of twine.

Reno has a few of these art displays. Recently, the Reno Star was placed and dedicated at the corner of McCarran and Virginia. Created by Mark Suzulgit, the Reno Star was built with re-purposed metal and funded by donations. Whether it’s liked or not, it stands as a creative marker. A place or thing someone will associate a special memory with.

The Reno Star adds something special to the City of Reno. Art is subjective and as controversial as religion and politics. There’s no doubt the Reno Star will be loved and hated equally and that’s great. It disrupts the ordinary and makes us imagine.

Please share your memories of odd places you’ve visited. A few years ago, while traveling through Laos, I stayed a few nights in a city called Luang Prabang. It was there that I hiked for an hour up an deteriorating stairway and ducked through a cave opening just to see an alleged footprint of Buddha. It didn’t look anything resembling anything, but the memory was made and cherished.

Reno StarNOTE: The thoughts and opinions expressed by Paul Klein in this blog are personal and not that of the City of Reno.

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