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Reno artist Jen Graham featured at LXS Gallery

CARSON CITY, Nevada – Reno artist Jen Graham has put her own twist on a family tradition.

While attending college at the University of Nevada, Reno, Graham worked exclusively in photography, but after earning her bachelor’s degree in art, she expanded her repertoire thanks to a little inspiration from her mother, an avid seamstress and quilter.

Artist Jen Graham’s piece, “Pins and Patriots”, Embroidery & Acrylic on Fabric, 2012.

Artist Jen Graham’s piece, “Pins and Patriots”, Embroidery & Acrylic on Fabric, 2012.

Embracing the sewing arts and their history as forms of storytelling, records of family history, and sometimes even propaganda, Graham uses traditional embroidery and patchwork techniques to reinvestigate American history and to discuss current political and social issues.

Her work can be seen beginning Monday (March 20) in the LXS Gallery on the first floor of the Nevada State Legislature Building. Graham is one of six Nevada artists whose work is being featured during the biennial session of the legislature as part of the Nevada Arts Council’s Legislative eXhibition Series (LXS).

The display is open to the public, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In her featured exhibit, “At War With Ourselves,” Graham use the American Civil War as a platform to discuss the polarities of contemporary politics.

“In this work, I take historical photographs and illustrations from the Civil War and late 19th century America and use them to create patchwork embroidery,” she said. “The sewn historical images are paired with embroidered text either written by myself or derived from historical and contemporary sources, including Civil War era journals, quotes from political figures and slogans from both the Democratic and Republican parties’ contemporary websites. Using techniques from American folk art traditions and early 20th century propaganda posters, I place images alongside text to encourage the viewer to reconsider the motives, meanings and power of these messages and to question how far we have really come as a nation since the 1860s.”

Graham has shown her work throughout the United States in both solo and group exhibitions. She has been an active member of the Reno art community as a curator, organizing exhibitions at local galleries and non-traditional spaces.

The exhibit of Graham’s work runs through April 7.

Other Nevada artists still to be featured at the LXS Gallery include:

  • April 10-28: Paintings by Kathryn Grider, Spring Creek;
  • May 1-19, Mixed media by Myranda Bair, Las Vegas;
  • May 22-June 9: Paintings by Eyob Mergia, Las Vegas.


The Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, was founded in 1967 as the state agency charged with ensuring that state and national funds support cultural activity and encourage participation in the arts throughout Nevada. The agency’s programs and services are designed to support creative expression, animate communities, diversify local economies and provide lifelong learning in the arts for all Nevadans. The Nevada Arts Council is funded by the State of Nevada, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other public and private sources.