Last week, we were lucky enough to host artist and blogger, Maria Calandra at SNC and in Reno for a simultaneous show of her drawings and conversations about her work. Calandra’s visit launched the MFA-IA’s first talk of the Open Space Series. Her Reno talk was hosted by Cuddleworks, an artist-run studio space along Reno’s 4th Street Corridor. Cuddleworks provided a generous and warm setting for Maria’s informal talk, and was a welcoming introduction to the art community of Reno.




Holding an MFA from Cornell University, Calandra is an active Brooklyn-based artist whose current work is rooted in the passive collaboration of studio visits. Sitting with artists in their workspaces, she takes photos, evokes conversations and draws the details of another artists’ environments. “My visits become an intimate look inside the artist’s space, both physically and psychologically. My drawings are a study of detail — from the rag that slips under the corner of a painter’s table to the hidden collaged element found on the multi-layered surface of a canvas,” writes Calandra about the drawings.

These conversations, drawings and photographs are all documented on her blog, “Pencil in the Studio” where the public gets a glimpse into the interworking and creative process of established artists. Previous studio visits include Maya Hayuk, Chris Martin and recent Nevada Museum of Art artist Franklin Evans.

While Calandra’s talk at SNC focused primarily on her drawings themselves, her Reno talk was a more expansive discussion of the artists on whom she has chosen to focus, as well as the unique and fascinating ways that each studio space itself helps to shape the work produced there. Great questions were asked by all, and many area artists, professors, and professionals contributed to a fruitful conversation.




In addition to her presentations, Calandra also did several studio visits with area artists who hold studios at Cuddleworks. We got a lot of great feedback from the participants, explaining that it was really nice to have a fresh perspective and feedback from another place about what they were doing.

“It was amazing to meet with the artists of Cuddleworks in their studios and art exhibitions and talk with them about their work,” shares Calandra. “Each visit was as eye opening and interesting as the next. Although it seems obvious that there is always a place for making art everywhere, and there are people who desire to make it, I was so inspired to travel clear across the country and experience an art community as similar in its need to work together as mine in NYC. And, I can’t tell you how much it helped me to understand the city of Reno itself. In the end, I took home with me a desire to communicate more with artists far beyond the reaches of my 5 boroughs. Not to mention seeing Wild Horses – What a beautiful and mysterious place Nevada is.”

The on-going Open Space Series of artist talks, hosted by the MFA-IA program at SNC, aims to provide an opportunity to engage the greater Northern Nevada community in critical dialogue and multi-dimensional thinking. Please check back on our site for a list of upcoming talks in conjunction with the series.


– JULIA SCHWADRON  program coordinator