Art Located Beyond the Playa

Must See Artwork Located Beyond the Playa

Whether you are a Burning Man veteran or have it on your bucket list, one thing is for sure – the artwork created for the annual self-expression gathering is both innovative and fascinating. Now visitors and residents of Reno Tahoe can admire these beautiful pieces of artwork year-round. Check out these must-see Burning Man pieces that all art lovers can enjoy.

Space Whale, City Plaza

The newest addition to the block, the Space Whale comes to Reno after being on the playa in 2016. This piece of art is made of steel lattice and hand-painted stained glass. It features a mother humpback whale and her calf, and was inspired by a trip one of the artists took where he swam with whale sharks. Catch the natural sun rays glistening through the stained glass during the day, or see this one of a kind piece light up at night.

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BELIEVE Sign, City Plaza

Made of thick rustic steel, each letter stands 12 ft. high and 4 ft. thick. The letters are imprinted with hundreds of bird cutouts which pays homage to the father of one of the artists. BELIEVE first made its appearance at Burning Man in 2013, and is part of a word sculpture series that includes other words such as MOM, LOVE and DREAM. The sculpture was purchased by the city of Reno in 2016 and has a permanent home in City Plaza.

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Portal of Evolution, Truckee Riverwalk

This sculpture was on the playa in 2009 and is now located on the Truckee River Walk, near First and Ralston. This sculpture is better known as the winged sculpture because of the butterfly wings that cap the sculpture and rotate in the wind.

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Guardian of Eden, Nevada Museum of Art

This flowering sculpture is located at the Nevada Museum of Art and was created for Burning Man in 2007. The year’s theme was “The Green Man,” and this piece was a nod to meditation on earth, climate and sustainability. Step inside and watch the sun beam through the openings, or use the cover as shade and a place of tranquility.

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Reno Star Cosmic Thistle, South Reno

A little bit off the beaten path and south of downtown is a 46-ft. tall 60-ft. wide white thistle sculpture. The thistle is inspired by the high desert plants found around the Great Basin. Made from salvaged steel from the city of Reno, the Reno Star Cosmic Thistle made its Burning Man debut in 2012.

Reno Cosmic Thistle

Ichthyosaurus, Discovery Museum

This 50 ft., life-size model of Nevada’s state fossil was showcased at Burning Man in 2013. The piece was constructed in The Generator and is made of plywood. The Ichthyosaurus now has a permanent home in the Discovery Museum, which focuses on the education of science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

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Playa Art Park, Downtown Reno

The Playa Art Park is a rotating display of artwork previously on the Playa. The free public art installation is located in the heart of downtown and features smaller interactive sculptures. This year’s collection features Scultura di Collettivo by Kyle Larrain,  Lumpy the Gate Skull by Jeremy Evan and Bill Tubman, and Identity Awareness by Shane Pitzer just to name a few!

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With such an immense collection of art situated throughout the city, Reno Tahoe offers a variety of both guided and self-led tours that meet your specific interests. Art Spot Reno offers art tours like the Playa Art Trail, Midtown Mural Tour, Downtown Reno Mural & Public Art Tour or the monthly Art Walk Reno. For an interactive map of Reno’s public art, visit

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