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It took only 10 days for Charly and Sam Malpass to transform the old City Hall parking lot into a new piece for the City of Reno Public Art Collection.

The artists’ inspiration? Nevada’s state bird, the mountain bluebird, and state flower, the sagebrush.

After:PHOTOS: Reno Murals

The sisters began painting “Bluebirds Among Sage” on May 10 – even in unexpected snowy weather – and finished the project on May 19.

“My sister hates heights so it was a challenge, but we overcame it,” said Charly Malpass.

On Wednesday, the city dedicated the artwork to its public art collection at an event at City Plaza attended by Mayor Hillary Schieve, artists and other officials.

The Bluebirds Among Sage mural by artist Charly Malpass on June 1, 2022.

Life before bluebirds and sagebrush

The city purchased the 50-year-old Club Cal Neva parking lot in 2015 for $10.

Reno Councilwoman Naomi Duerr told the audience at the grand opening that she helped lobby for the rejuvenation of the aging garage.

“Now it needed a lot of work…but we had to do something. It was so important to me that our constituents, our customers and our employees had a cleaner, more pleasant environment,” Duerr said.

paint on pink

The Reno City Council decided to hire a special artist to paint the garage.

On January 24, the Reno Arts and Culture Commission approved the Public Art Committee’s recommendation to involve the sisters in the project. The city council then approved $70,000 in accommodation taxes for artists.

The Malpass sisters, residents of Truckee, collaborated with Encore Paint to paint the mural with recycled materials. The company collects materials from hazardous waste centers and turns discarded paint into usable paint for artists to maintain the durability of their creations.

Artist Charly Malpass paints his mural in the parking lot of City Hall on May 6, 2022. The name of the mural is Bluebirds Among Sage.

“They’re picking up all that discarded paint and some of it hasn’t even been touched,” said Charly Malpass.

The design covers nearly the entire exterior of the garage, extending from the south wall and southwest corner, with some detail wrapped into the Lincoln driveway.

What the mural will do for Reno

Schieve said the mural and other art is a good way to promote Reno.

“I think it’s really a testament to the making of place and also art. Art is an incredible element to transforming a city and I always say the arts are the way to pack a city,” Schieve said.

Artist Charly Malpass stands in front of his mural on the day the mural was unveiled by the City of Reno on June 1, 2022. The name of the mural is Bluebirds Among Sage.

“I was just hoping it would bring some life and color to the block. I mean it’s already such an epic art center that I think it just needed a revamp,” said Charly Malpass.