Circus Circus Mural Marathon Winners

Tahoe Black Bear by Melissa Ghiglieri.

Melissa Ghiglieri, from Medford, Ore., has been named the overall winner of the 7th annual Circus Circus Mural Marathon. In addition to the judges awarding her first place, she was also named the People’s Choice winner for her “Tahoe Black Bear.”

Astral Crab by Kate O’Hara.

Second place was the “Astral Crab” celestial creation by Kate O’Hara of Reno. O’Hara is a freelance Illustrator, who graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BFA in illustration and typography.

Frida Kahlo by Rafael Blanco.

Rafael Blanco took third place for his painting of Frida Kahlo. Blanco is a Painter, muralist and art professor at Feather River College in Quincy, California.

Spectators were invited to watch the artists create during the Mural Marathon, which took place during Reno Art Fest 2019, beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 12 and concluded at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 14. Murals will remain on display for an entire year until the next annual competition occurs. The seven talented artists were selected by an esteemed panel to compete for a grand prize of $3,000, 2nd place prize of $2,000 and 3rd place prize of $1,000.

The other participating artists were:

  • David (Puck) Watson – Los Angeles, CA
  • Ivan Roque – Miami, FL
  • Austin Cashell (Jiminai) – Austin, TX
  • Eric Weatherford – St. Louis, MO

The selection committee consisted of five people from various local business who have a background in and passion for art. They were Artech Operations Manager Jerri Ann Bibbey; Shoshanna Zelder, program manager for the UNR School of Arts; Nettie Oliverio, a member of the City of Reno Public Art Committee and the Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board; Dominic Tinio, Burning Man illustrator; Carson Cultural Commissioner Terri McBride and Sierra Arts Executive Director Tracey Oliver.

In addition to the Circus Circus Mural Marathon, Reno Art Fest 2019 celebrated more than 50 local and regional artists in downtown Reno with an Open Air Art Market, Controlled Burn, a CR8TIV Zone full of family fun, a beer garden, local food trucks and a weekend packed with activities. For more information, visit

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