Art Belongs Here at Custom Ink
Public art can do wonders for a community. This is the driving idea behind the Reno, Nevada Reno Arts & Culture Commission citywide initiative Art Belongs Here which grants money to artists who want to help beautify and revitalize their city. Custom Ink is a company passionate about art and community that also has a local office in Reno, so it made perfect sense to see how we could get involved.
View this post on Instagram
In 2019, Custom Ink satisfaction advisor Gina Gral applied for the Art Belongs Here program and was accepted. She wanted to help beautify her city and so she recruited co-workers along with volunteers from The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada to paint an underpass in their town. The community response was so positive that Custom Ink employees are doing it again.
“Custom Ink was one of the seven grant recipients who participated in the first ever Art Belongs Here initiative in 2019,” says the project’s media and volunteer coordinator and Custom Ink store rep Matt Kopicko. “The 2019 event featuring the Keystone Bridge Design was such a huge success, of course we were set on applying again for the next grant…. Custom Ink was super excited to be one of many applicants for the 2021 bid. With a lot of hard work, determination and some very influential community support, Custom Ink was one of only two recipients to win the bid and receive the grant!”
While a new group took the reins, Gina stayed on as a project mentor legal liaison. The team is currently hard at work creating their next masterpiece. “Through our volunteer coordination and leadership efforts,” Matt told us, “we have estimated 20 volunteers will be in attendance each day of the event, which accounts for approximately 800 volunteer hours!”
Project manager Amilia Cerney, who serves as an expert production artist for Custom Ink, said, “Once we have the project completed [on] September 25, we will have accomplished contributing a beautiful, bright piece of art to downtown Reno that is visited and seen by thousands of people every year.”
Amelia says it’s also been a great way for the team to reconnect. “We are excited to get back out into the community together again while also following all guidelines for safety and protocols for gathering in person.”
The team wanted to increase their impact, so they turned to the Custom Ink Fundraising platform to create a t-shirt fundraiser to raise money for a local cause. “This year… we are raising money for Eddy House, whose goal it is to end youth homelessness in Northern Nevada. They are located here in Reno and provide valuable resources to vulnerable kids and families,” said Amelia.
Amelia told us that the team is excited that they are able to raise awareness and support in their own backyard. “The community is very vocal about wanting art and beautiful things to look at while they enjoy our parks, river walk, shops, and public areas. Locals are always willing to engage by asking questions, and getting involved by visiting the fundraiser so that they feel a sense of contribution to the project and pride in helping out a non-profit in the community.”
Eddy House works with homeless and at-risk youth to develop the life and job skills necessary for sustainable independence. You can see and support the fundraiser below and follow Custom Ink for updates on the team’s progress!