Sam Shear to Install “Upside Down Church” in Virginia City

Upside Down Church + “An Acoustic Gospel Hour with Jenni & Jesse of Dead Winter Carpenters.” Located in Virginia City, Nv. on the site of an old tailings pile, the opening will take place on Sunday, May 27 at 1 pm.

The Upside Down Church a 1/20 (7′ tall) scale replica of a 19th century Midwest style church, pulled, upside down by 1/3 (2′ tall) scale figures of the Artist Sam Shear. The installation is a physical representation of a personal, visceral experience Sam had during his Grandmother’s funeral service. The piece is a depiction of the stress and weight put on individuals caused by religious viewpoints, greed, power, stature or political stance. Through scale and perception with an American pastoral landscape backdrop, the Upside Down Church conjures thoughts of decay, wear, commitment and contribution.

The construction of four walls, a roof, and a steeple represents the purpose of bringing the community together under a spiritual advisor. Churches are places where people come together and form community bonds. They are a spiritual home, a place of communion and divine intervention. These qualities make abandoned and forsaken churches all the more gloomy and unnatural.

Even in its’ dilapidated state, the Upside Down Church casts a strong and overpowering shadow in the presence of the 1/3 scale figures. Whose struggle is captured in their stance as they pull the weight of the church across the picturesque landscape of Virginia City, NV. The deep trench or rift that trails the church is a metaphor for life and as described in the defects above. The trench is the accumulation of the impact on the individuals around everyone.

In addition to the Upside Down Church, 2018 installation, a 20-minute homily by Father Anton of St. Mary’s in the Mountains will take place. Also during the opening, an Acoustic Gospel Hour w/ Jenni & Jesse of Dead Winter Carpenters will be performed. The installation will remain for three weeks at the “Marshall Tailings” site. The Upside Down Church, 2018 will then be moved to Sagehen Creek Field Station in Truckee, CA as the permanent installation site.

Upside Down Church sign, Sam Shear

What is it?
Upside Down Church, 2018 Art Opening + “An Acoustic Gospel Hour with Jenni & Jesse of Dead Winter Carpenters”

When is it?
1pm- 3pm on May 27th 2018 (5/27/18) See Bulletin Below.

Where is it?
“Marshall’s Tailings” at the corner of Union & R Streets. Across from St. Mary’s Art Center, Virginia City, NV.

RSVP and Directions:


Lupita’s Artist Project Grant awarded to Elena Kendall Aranda

We are pleased to announce the selection of Elena Kendall-Aranda as recipients of the 2018 Lupita’s Artist Project Grant.

Elena Kendall-Aranda is an American, Spanish and French artist currently living and working in New York. Through the investigation of gender theories, Internet culture and mass media practices, she addresses issues of identity and embodiment with photography, text, and new technologies. By conjuring narratives that coalesce and collapse, Kendall-Aranda seeks to use online applications that can operate simultaneously in physical and virtual space to create new meaning that makes us reflect about our social-political culture.

The Lupita’s Artist Project Grant will support the continuation of her project Ghost Town Initiative / Los Despoblados which utilizes Google Maps’ Street View features to create an online space where Internet visitors will be able to virtually stroll through abandoned villages in Spain amongst recreated ghost inhabitants, and by doing so, provide a new perspective on our collective past and present.

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Richard Petrucci – SNC MFA-IA Class of 2017 – Tactical Maintenance

Richard Petrucci is something of a landscaper. Or rather, an archivist of landscapes. Petrucci’s work throughout the Sierra Nevada College MFA-Interdisciplinary Arts program has focused on the human management of our appreciation of nature. As Christopher Thacker writes in The History of Gardens, the first gardens were likely discoveries —  “…such spots are the gardens of the gods, or of those favoured by the gods, so that they need do no work to keep the place in order.” Petrucci’s work explores this question then, exploring our enjoyment of nature, and the notion of “enjoyment” itself as a product of our time.

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Sierra Nevada College
Interdisciplinary Arts
Low Residency MFA


1008 Tahoe Blvd
Incline Village, NV 89451


Julia Schwadron
Assistant Program Director
P: (775) 831-1314 ext. 7492