By Kayla Anderson
People visiting Victorian Square may see Northern Nevada’s iconic gambler Last Chance Joe getting a facelift as new Reno-Sparks contractor Crown Painting, Inc. will be touching him up this week.
Following EDAWN’s Alliance Summit held back in January, Crown Painting won the bid on the project and is confident that it can get Joe looking like new.
“Their whole process is different than the previous artist’s,” says Sparks Museum and Cultural Center Manager Tamby Gach. “They will reinforce his structure with fiberglass and then paint over it. Right now he’s just held together by papier mache and chicken wire,” she adds.
“We’re new to the Reno-Sparks area and thought that this is a great way to dive into the local community,” says Crown Painting Vice President Gretchen Arbini. “We like to give back to the local community and are hoping to have much of the work done by the end of this week. We will be doing some fiberglass repair and taking him back to his original coloring so that Joe can be bold and beautiful again,” she adds.
Last Chance Joe was originally installed in front of Dick Graves Nugget in downtown Sparks in 1955 and then the 35-foot tall structure was relocated to the Sparks Museum in late 2014 when the Nugget Resort Casino changed management. The Sparks Museum put out a call for donations and thought it had secured a donor to help with Joe’s move and restoration, but then that donor backed out. Fortunately, the community came together to drum up some dollars to help patch some of his holes and the portion above his belt was primed, giving Joe a white look.
In December 2017, the Sparks Museum in partnership with the DMV began selling Nevada license plates featuring Last Chance Joe with a portion of the proceeds going towards the Sparks Museum Foundation.
But thanks to the partnership with Crown Painting, hopefully Joe will be good as new by early summer.
“We’re excited to be in the area and part of this local icon. We’re here to help the museum and the local community, give back to the people who keep us in business,” Arbini says.