Andrea Graham

Virginia McCuin

Virginia McCuin grew up on a ranch in Railroad Valley, Nevada, and gained an early appreciation for practical crafts while watching her father work as a blacksmith. Her own work started with leather tooling, but soon moved to gold and silver smithing. McCuin is mostly self-taught, and she has created a unique three-dimensional style that she uses in belt buckles and pendants.

Arts for All Nevada

Arts for All Nevada (formerly VSA arts of Nevada) was founded in 1986 to provide arts programming to all Nevadans, especially the 15 percent of the population with some kind of disability. The organization provides art classes and workshops for children and adults, produces festivals, places artists in classrooms and health care facilities, and conducts training workshops for teachers. They are a member of the international VSA arts organization, which is an affiliate of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Lear Theatre

The Lear Theater occupies the historic First Church of Christ, Scientist, in the Truckee River Arts District. In 2011, the building was in the process of renovation into a mid-size space for theater, music, and dance performances. The 1939 church building was purchased in 1998 by the Theater Coalition with a major matching donation from Moya Lear, and the building was renamed in her honor.

JoAnn Smokey Martinez

JoAnn Smokey Martinez and her sister Theresa Jackson were among the last members of the Washoe Tribe to be raised in their traditional Native American culture. They spoke only Washoe until they started school, and as children both helped their mother and grandmother gather willows for baskets.

Governor's Arts Awards Recipients

While traditional and folk arts are grounded in communities and accessible to all, there inevitably arise exemplary practitioners of any art form who take those traditions to new heights. All of these artists would practice their skills regardless of payment or recognition, and many of them would never think to call themselves artists. They do their work out of love, out of a deep need to express who they are and where they come from, and a talent honed over many years of practice and work.

Folklife of Tribal Groups

The four tribes native to the state of Nevada are the Washoe, the Western Shoshone, the Northern Paiute and the Southern Paiute. In adapting to the extremes of the high desert environment, all of these peoples have developed similar ways of life and cultural forms over the thousands of years they have occupied the Great Basin.


Folklife is the traditional expressive culture shared within groups of people. The definition used in the establishment of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in 1976 says, "American folklife is the traditional, expressive, shared culture of various groups in the United States: familial, ethnic, occupational, religious, and regional. Expressive culture includes a wide range of creative and symbolic forms, such as custom, belief, technical skill, language, drama, ritual, architecture, music, play, dance, pageantry, and handicraft.

Folk Groups

Folklore is shared in groups of people; this is the "folk" in folklore. Folk groups share something in common—a heritage or a place or an interest—that makes them distinctive and gives them their identity. Folk groups can be based on such elements as ethnicity, tribe, religion, region, occupation, family, age, or gender. The folklore of such groups bonds them together with shared meaning, and sets them apart from other groups. People are members of multiple folk groups, of course, and may choose to highlight their various identities in different situations.

Folk Genres

The "lore" of folklore can be divided into genres or the categories of expression that people learn and create as a part of their heritage. At the broadest level, genres can be categorized as oral, performance, material, or customary. Specifically, the list of folk genres is almost endless. Oral traditions include such things as stories, legends, jokes, and songs, but songs can also be grouped with performance traditions as can instrumental music and dances. Material traditions include crafts, costumes, foods, and vernacular (or traditional) architecture.

Elko Basque Club

The Basque people have a long and unique history in the American West, and many of their traditions are maintained today by Basque clubs throughout the region. One of the oldest and most active is the Elko Basque Club. Founded in 1959, it has hosted the National Basque Festival since 1964.


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