In the spring of 2019, the Nevada Arts Council launched a project called The BRX Project, or The Basin to Range Exchange. The principal idea was to connect artists across Nevada; both rural and urban artists would come together and create unique and challenging collaborations across our great state.
Ghost Light Productions got teamed up with The Goldwell Open Air Museum and Nevada Humanities to create an artistic project using all three groups’ experience, creativity, and innovation. After putting all three groups’ strengths and resources together, it was decided to write and perform a play about the Belgium sculptor Albert Szukalski.
Albert was the quirky and artistic pioneer who established what today is known at The Goldwell Open Air museum. His unique outlook on life and art coupled with his talent and vision made for the perfect subject.
Albert Szukalski’s America was written by Emily Anderson, a board member of Ghost Light Productions, and is based on the many amazing, outrageous, and wonderful stories provided about him from Suzanne Hacket-Morgan- the Director of the Goldwell Open Air Museum- who was also a good friend of Albert’s.
The show was set to tour in Rhyolite in Spring 2020, however; due to the current pandemic, the project had to be re-envisioned; it was decided to turn the play into a radio show. Elko Broadcasting Company, a radio broadcasting company located in Elko Nevada, volunteered their studio to let Ghost Light Productions produce their show.
The cast had to adapt quickly and creatively to be able to bring Albert’s story to life and do him justice. This project has been almost a year and half in the making and has finally come to a completion. We are so excited for the public to be able to experience the hard work from everyone involved, and for everyone to get a glimpse into the life of Albert Szukalski: The DaVinci of the Desert.
Special thanks to the cast and crew of the show, who not only hung in on this evolving project, but also adapted quickly without losing artistic enthusiasm or creativity:
Albert Szukalski: Scott Glennon
Monique/Suzanne Hacket-Morgan: Lane Bartlett
John/Dr. Hugo Heyman: Caleb Tapia
Tina/Julia: Alaina Monson
Luke/Mayor Spencer/Bartender: Cameron Eden
Fred Bervoets/Man: DJ McCoy
Written and Directed by Emily Anderson
Assistant Directed by: Rebecca Stanton
Special thanks to Elko Broadcasting Company
. The Nevada Arts Council (NAC) was established as a state agency in 1967 to enrich the cultural life of the state by supporting, strengthening, and making excellence in the arts accessible to all Nevadans. The Nevada Arts Council is one of America’s 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies that ensure that every community in the U.S. receives the cultural, civic, economic, and educational benefits of the arts. The Nevada Arts Council supports Nevada’s rural communities, enlivens its public spaces, promotes health and healing, sparks economic growth, drives educational success, fosters inclusion and equity, reaches low income communities, creates opportunities for artists, and serves the public. The Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Department of Tourism and Cultural affairs, receives funding from the State of Nevada, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other private and public sources.
The arts are a vital asset that improve the quality of life throughout Nevada communities. The arts foster critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and connections to our rich culture and heritage. The Nevada Arts Council, through its programs and many partnerships, actively works to connect diverse art, artists and arts organizations to audiences in the streets, galleries, museums, theaters, and classrooms found throughout our urban and rural communities.
Ghost Light Productions is a non-profit theatre company located in Elko, Nevada. The company strives to provide arts opportunities in rural Nevada- both for the performers/technicians and for audience members. They produce a large variety of shows including intimate dramas, broad comedies, improv shows, One Acts, experimental works and original works.
They host a variety of annual events meant to fundraise for the company and provide additional arts opportunities. The company members also volunteer at a large number of events and other non-profit companies in the Elko community, providing additional help, free entertainment, and arts education for adults and youth.
The Goldwell Open Air Museum is an outdoor sculpture park near the ghost town of Rhyolite in the U.S. state of Nevada.. In addition to the museum, the site includes the Red Barn Art Center, a 2,250-square-foot (209 m2) multi-purpose studio and exhibition space used by artists-in-residence and other artists. Near the art center are the ruins of a jail and other buildings of the historic mining town of Bullfrog.
The nonprofit museum was organized in 2000 after the death of Albert Szukalski, the Belgian artist who created the site's first sculptures in 1984 near the abandoned railway station in Rhyolite. The sculpture, The Last Supper, consists of ghostly life-sized forms arranged as in the painting The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Szukalski molded his shapes by draping plaster-soaked burlap over live models until the plaster dried enough to stand on its own. In the same year, using the same techniques, Szukalski also created Ghost Rider, a plaster figure preparing to mount a bicycle.
Between then and 2007, other artists, including three other Belgians, added new works to the project. In 1989, Szukalski created Desert Flower, an assemblage of chrome car parts found in the desert. In the 1990s, Hugo Heyrman added Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada, a cinder block sculpture in part based on the idea of the pixel. Fred Bervoets, in Tribute to Shorty Harris, celebrated one of the prospectors whose mining discovery of 1904 led to a gold rush. There are additional works from other artists installed in the Open Air Museum, and they continue to host artist residencies and projects today.
Nevada Humanities produces and supports humanities-based educational and cultural programs that articulate the Nevada experience, feature local culture and heritage, and facilitate the investigation of ideas that matter to the people of Nevada and their communities.
They connect and transform communities by sharing and amplifying the stories, ideas, experiences, and traditions of the diverse people of Nevada.