Oh Hey, Jet Cafe – Sierra Nevada Ally

Image: Dani DeRosa

Sierra Nevada Ally Civic Action Coordinator Dani DeRosa interviews activists, business leaders, students, and artists to talk about civic engagement, public service, the marketplace, and the arts.

The Jet Cafeis inside the Pitch Black Printing Co at 700 East 4th Street in Reno.

High ceilings and a bright open space welcome you to the kitchen. A local artist painted the interior walls. The handmade coffee tables are in the shape of Nevada.

Image: Dani DeRosa

Jet Cafe is owned by Megan O’Reilly and Maurice Harold with their toy poodle Josephine. O’Reilly’s hair is a bright teal. She wears a handmade necklace.

According to Harold, “We started in Megan’s guest bedroom and it quickly spread down the hallway and then into the living room.

“That’s when we realized we had to come up with something. About six months later, we had already built it to the brim.

According to O’Reilly, “we had equipment in our bathroom/storage space because it was just too much.”

“So if anyone else needed to use the bathroom, they just had to wait,” Harold said.

Image: Dani DeRosa

At first, O’Reilly and Harold acquired a lease on a building on California Avenue near downtown Reno, but outgrew the space in just six months.

“So we have been in this place (E. 4th Street) since June 2019. Just in time for the end of the world. We started the business in September 2015. So we’re right about seven years.

The 4th street has always had an image problem: the street that the Renoites had to avoid. The stereotype includes seedy motels, street people and passers-by. The street’s reputation dates back to the early 1900s. Today, 4th Street is changing, in part due to gentrification.

Fortunately, the street still has a rebellious vibe and remains a staple of Reno’s punk rock music scene, such as the home of legendary band, At the drive-in.

Image: Dani DeRosa

Absolute black printing

The printing partners started out wanting to help their artist friends who had to keep their fingers crossed hoping that what they ordered online turned out the way they wanted. Demand has grown to include convention banners, stickers and business cards.

“(We are) a printer of fine art, reproduction and photography. And that was all we were going to do.

Today, the bulk of Pitch Black Printing’s sales come from commercial work. Their experience working with artists gives this work a different look to help them stand out from the competition.

Image: Dani DeRosa

Jet Cafe

Jet Cafe features a new artist every month. They also offer greeting cards and enamel pins. I bought a coyote smoking a cigarette and a friend gave me a pin based on David Fambrough’s iconic Reno Volkswagen Beetle sculpture.

Image: Dani DeRosa

“We wanted to do a Reno pin, like an enamel pin. But we didn’t want to do an arch or anything like that. Which, those things are fine. But we kind of wanted something that the real people who lived here would recognize. These deep cuts.

“Yeah exactly. Something not everyone would experience. And we did it on purpose. And we thought it was fun. And people seem to really like it. So I feel like I don’t want to not that Reno forgets its roots.

“And a lot of that has to do with where we are right now, which is when we were when we knew we had outgrown our space and needed to find a new space. We We had specifically targeted this area on East 4th because Reno is evolving a lot. But it also still has a lot of grit. And we wanted to maintain that rather than going somewhere that didn’t feel like Reno. It’s still a lot Reno here d in a way that embraces some of the diversity and demographics, and geographically.

“I feel like Reno is kind of, I don’t know, I guess blue-collar town is a good way to describe it, you know? And I don’t think Reno should forget that.

O’Reilly said, “We’re still the Wild West, aren’t we?”

“Exactly,” Harold agreed.

Image: Dani DeRosa

Alain Kaplan was one of their first clients and was recently featured in a dark Jim Henson and comic book themed exhibit. According to O’Reilly, Kaplan’s day job was to work as a production artist at custom ink. He now works for Pokemon.

Image: Dani DeRosa

“It was really cool to see him evolve.”

“We were able to do some really cool stuff,” O’Reilly said. “We hosted an artist’s first-ever art exhibition, with a reception on her 21st birthday. She sold her first painting to someone she didn’t know. It was so cool to watch this whole process and she was so thrilled. She was taking photos next to the sold sign and was all excited that it was you know it’s great the support of family and friends for an artist but when you reach out to someone you don’t know it’s like yes, there is this next level that helps maintain them. And that’s what we need: more artists all the time, everywhere.

“I think it’s easy to get discouraged. It becomes difficult to keep producing when you hear (negativity). We really like to be a more supportive and accepting space. We show some artists who may not fit in other galleries. But you have to start somewhere. And if you don’t start with a little encouragement, you don’t know what someone can grow into.

Image: Dani DeRosa

How O’Reilly and Harold think of Reno’s changes over the past few years.

“I think what he needs is people who see the potential and are happy that others are noticing it, but also protecting the maintenance of what we already have here and what is so special about Reno.

“It kind of led to both of us wanting to have more of a say in how things turn out too, and just raising our hands and going but wait, let’s make sure we always protect, you know, the people who were here first and cultures who were here first and that kind of stuff and make sure we don’t gentrify ourselves in a way that whitewashes what’s so special here. I mean, I think Midtown is a great example of that, where Midtown changed so fast,” Harold said.

“And I think by the time people realized it was changing so fast, it was too late, it had already changed.

“And there are big businesses in Midtown, I’m not trying to bully Midtown. Everyone knew it would be a good part of town.

“But you know, for better or for worse, that’s what it is now. And I think now everyone kind of wants to take the reins a little bit harder. And I think that’s why 4th Street is such a good example of the companies that are already here and kind of taking control of this, as opposed to the outside forces that are doing it.

“We don’t want that to happen to us. We want to be involved in what is happening.

Image: Dani DeRosa

You’ll find the duo and their space relaxed and welcoming. If you are looking for a place to show your art for the first time, they are very accessible. Go ahead and join the list. When I started selling my own handmade jewelry and art, I would have loved to find a place like Jet Cafe.

Follow Jet Café on social networks or stop by to follow their events. They participate in walks around the neighborhood and last year they held an event with Nightmare on Fourth Street for Halloween.

Jet Cafe and Pitch Black Printing Co.
700 E 4th Street #A
Reno, Nevada 89512


Pitch Black Printing Co

Dani DeRosa is the civic action coordinator for Sierra Nevada Ally. She is a multimedia journalist from Sparks, Nevada, committed to serving stigmatized and underserved populations and has done so both in health care and as a local events coordinator. She has led entrepreneurship workshops with The Holland Project and Reno Bike Project.

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