Logo

the Education Renaissance
of Nevada Initiative

GUARANTEEING THE FUTURE OF Northern Nevada ONE KID AT A TIME

Our MISSION

Children don't do things because it's good for them; they do things they think are cool. ERNI is committed to creating events that capture their imagination and ignite their curiosity, things involving the arts and sciences, things that will get our kids fired up about learning (and off their phones.)

Nevada tops the list of least educated states in America. It's time to rethink what's essential to our children's development. Do you want them to become high-functioning drones? Or, brilliant, creative, well-rounded individuals? We want to transform the idea of education and the arts in northern Nevada, and show that they are not a luxury, they are not an extravagance, they are not elitist. They are the pathway to the future.

ABOUT  ERNI

There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see. - Leonardo Da Vinci

ERNI was founded on the belief that our capacity for development is unlimited. But, we all have to be able to see the pathway.

ERNI is committed to creating live events—concerts, lectures, classes, seminars, performances—that encourage young people in northern Nevada to explore literature, math, art, science, music and critical thought as exciting and rewarding disciplines to pursue.

When young people see real-life examples of those who have excelled in these pursuits, they see that these goals are actually attainable. By raising the expectations of our community, we challenge all Nevadans, young and old, to meet or exceed them.

How do we do that? We’re going to do it together. We’re going to use our greatest natural resource—the people who make up our community.

Nevadans are tough, determined, resilient individuals. They don't give up. These are the characteristics of the people who settled this frontier terrain and they continue in the people who live here today.

We have all the raw materials we need. We just need to polish them up, like the rare gems they are. It is our responsibility to hold them up to catch the light so that they sparkle. Because Nevada shines.

erNI's PARTNERS

Our Impact

Customers served!

12

Years of experience

That's the number of libraries spellbinders will appear in this year at zero cost to the libraries.

Customers served!

12

Years of experience

that's the number of people in northern nevada who will see at least one free performance.

Customers served!

12

Years of experience

that's the number of counties we will serve in northern nevada this year. But, we can do so much more!

THE BOARD

Larry Pic
PRESIDENT

LARRY WILSON

Dennyse Pic
SECRETARY

DENNYSE SEWELL

Mark Pic
TREASURER

MARK CAREY

Joan Pic
Artist

JOAN ARRIZABALAGA

PRESIDENT

LARRY WILSON

Larry is the “new” Nevadan, having only arrived 30 years ago when he was hired to appear in Frederic Apcar’s revue, “Breakin’ Loose,” at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

As a refugee from Los Angeles, his artistic sensibility is heavily influenced by the world of film, a world he studied in depth at the University of California at Santa Cruz. He combined the disciplines of film and live theater in his original work as a comedy-magician, and as a result, he has enjoyed a storied career as a producer, director, writer and performer.

The Education Renaissance of Nevada Initiative is the latest creative endeavor in Larry’s life which include being nominated for an Emmy Award, lecturing at M.I.T., and creating curriculum for schoolchildren in Nevada. Fortunately, he has sworn to use his powers only for good, and not for evil.

SECRETARY

DENNYSE SEWELL

Dennyse is a proud Nevadan and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno. She has served on the boards of A.V.A. Ballet Theatre, The Holland Project, and the Lear Theater. In 2008 she was named “A Woman of Achievement” by the Nevada Women’s Fund.

Dennyse has served as the Director of Events, Development and Youth Programs at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts here in Reno for the past nine years. This gives her a unique perspective on the way arts and sciences are inextricably intertwined in education.

When asked why she is so fiercely committed to strengthening Reno’s emerging identity as an arts and cultural destination, Dennyse’s answer is simple and direct. “I am inspired by artists of any kind: their vision, their dedication, and their bravery.” (You can thank her when you see her.)

TREASURER

MARK CAREY

Mark is a native born Nevadan whose earliest artistic leanings centered around photography, music and food (making it, not eating it.) Food won out and after high school he was accepted into the Seattle Culinary Arts and Design School. But, he never made it to Seattle. Instead, he found himself interning at local radio station KRZQ just as the world of analog gave way to digital. In no time he was producing all of the station’s promotional material, and eventually became the Imaging Director.

In 2004, feeling the need to do more things he had never done before, he created his own production house, Orangetree Productions, and began creating award-winning television and radio advertising for Northern Nevada.

In recent years, Mark found a new creative outlet for his talents writing and directing short films. In 2012 he wrote and directed a feature-length film, “The Ashes of Brush Flats,” which he hopes to debut in Reno later this year.

Artist

JOAN ARRIZABALAGA

Joan is that rarest of creatures in the art world—a working artist who has supported herself as an artist her entire life. She’s a second-generation Nevadan, born at home in Ely to avoid an outbreak of indeterminate origin. Her family moved to Fallon and she was schooled at the Oats Park School in the days before it was reinvented as an art museum.

Joan’s plan to study art was interrupted by a brief detour to Business College (at the insistence of her mother). But, after graduating she immediately enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she immersed herself in sculpture and ceramics. Her professors also insisted that she become proficient in welding, stone cutting, wood carving and other techniques “so that we would have the vocabulary, in case we ever had something to say.”

She works in a variety of mediums—paint, sculpture, mosaic and textiles—and her work has been exhibited in shows in Reno, San Francisco, New York and at the Los Angeles Museum of Art. Most recently she curated the exhibition, “The Art of Gaming +,” at the invitation of the University of Nevada, Reno.

OUR PROJECTS

Spellbinders 

The World's Largest Free International Festival of Magic

When we launched SPELLBINDERS eight years ago in 2014 we had two simple objectives:

  1. Get kids into public libraries to discover the vast resources they have to offer;
  2. Introduce kids to accessible live theater for children in our own performing arts center.

We succeeded on both accounts far beyond our wildest expectations. Spellbinders brings gold medal winning champions of magic from all over the world, the best of the very best, to perform in libraries across northern Nevada and in the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts for free. We wanted kids to learn that their public libraries were an immense resource of learning, and that they were staffed with experts who were eager to assist inquisitive minds in their search for knowledge. And we wanted those kids and their families to be able to attend our own Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts and feel the electric thrill that surrounds live theater, and, perhaps, some of those children might be inspired by the experience.

Spellbinders returns to Reno, Nevada, November 18th - 20th, 2022 with unbelievable, mind-boggling feats of magic taking place all over Northern Nevada, in libraries and onstage at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, from the very biggest stage illusions to intimate close-up miracles, and everything in between. And it’s all FREE!

Learn more here-- https://spellbindersfestival.com/

Do you love SPELLBINDERS and want us to keep presenting it for FREE? So do we. Is it worth a cup o' joe? Of course! Send us the price of a cup of coffee every month and we'll send you two tickets to the Gala show at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 19, 2022.

Give Love Image

 Be sure to specify matinee or evening performance and a mailing address. Or, you can go into any Washoe County library and get them for free, too. (But, they disappear like magic. When they're gone, they're gone.)

PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT

Silver State/Silver Screen
  • Ongoing Educational Project

A hands-on filmmaking bootcamp for young people where they learn every phase of production from screenwriting to story-boarding to cinematography to post-production digital editing using state-of-the-art equipment provided by Orangetree Productions. At the end of six weeks they wind up with a completed short film of their own to be exhibited in a mini-festival and on our website.

The Prima Facie Project
  • Ongoing Educational Project

An introduction to Latin intended as a pilot program for public schools. One of the most practical benefits of studying Latin is boosting verbal skills and scores on tests like the SAT. Numerous studies have shown a significant correlation between studying Latin and improved test scores, even with college GPA and performance in college English classes. It is a great advantage to learn Latin since it's the foundation language of all of the sciences.



Ivy League Outreach
  • Ongoing Educational Project

An ongoing program that imports Grad students from a prestigious Ivy League university to mentor local Reno middle school students who have an interest in engineering and science, with an emphasis on demystifying the process of applying to Ivy League colleges. Forget about the theoretical; these are men and women who are graduates of an Ivy League school and are currently enrolled pursuing advanced degrees.

CONTACT US

316 California Ave., #871 Reno, NV 89509

>