By Garrett Estrada, Eureka Sentinel Staff Writer
The Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas will host a selection of art from esteemed collector and Eureka resident Wally Cuchine starting Jan. 11. The exhibit, titled “Wally’s World: The Loneliest Art Collection in Nevada,” will consist of 35 pieces of art chosen by Cuchine that depict Nevada’s architecture and landscapes.
Cuchine, who has been collecting pieces of Nevada art for nearly 40 years, claims to have around 2,000 pieces in his collection.
“I have a very extensive Nevada collection. There are probably around 2,000 pieces of art both three-dimensional and two-dimensional here in my collection. It is enough to fill two houses in Eureka,” Cuchine said.
His self-proclaimed “obsession” with Nevada art began in the mid-1970’s when Cuchine moved to Hawthorne. There, the budding collector met several artists that inspired his love for Nevada art. It’s a love that has lasted through the years, as Cuchine continues to expand upon his massive collection.
“I’ve added 60 new pieces to my collection last year, which is more than most people have in their entire art collection,” Cuchine said.
Nevada State Museum Director Dennis McBride said the exhibit shows a history of art in the state many may not have known existed.
“A lot of people don’t realize that Nevada has a long, long history of art and artists working in every kind of medium. Some of them are among Wally’s collection here,” McBride said.
McBride said Cuchine’s collection of Nevada art is unprecedented as far as he’s aware, and he’s happy to partner with him to help share a small portion of it.
“I don’t know of anyone else in the state that has made a specific effort to collect just Nevada art. Wally is the only one. His collection is vast and covers every type of media,” McBride said. “It covers every artist I have ever heard of and many that I haven’t.”
“Wally’s World” will be on display at the museum for eight weeks, before traveling to other cities around Nevada and eventually coming to Ely in November. Cuchine said getting the opportunity to share his passion means a great deal to him and that he hopes viewers will find the same joy in the pieces as he does.
“If anybody is interested in the art as fine art, then it gives me hope that the collection is truly valuable.”
The Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas is located at 309 S. Valley View Blvd. It’s open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached by calling 702-486-5205.