Executive Director's Message
In 1996, the City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission, consisting of business and arts executives, developed a plan to use the arts to improve the city’s self-image and give locals a reason to visit downtown. Their idea: highlight the community’s cultural depth, ignite civic pride and create a climate for the cultural and economic rebirth of our region. Now in its 20th year, Artown celebrates two decades of art, culture, and expression.
Since its inception, Artown has been the catalyst for tremendous change throughout the community. I believe that Artown has been a facilitator for the creativity emerging in our community--through science and technology in addition to the arts. What used to be a hot summer month, nestled between the Reno Rodeo and Hot August Nights, has blossomed into the most beloved month of the year in Reno and one of the largest arts and culture festivals in the country. In addition, other endeavors have contributed to the transformation of an entire city when they followed the path paved by the arts. These include an urban kayak course, revitalized retail storefronts, an eclectic mix of restaurants, a successful movie theater complex, urban lifestyle, a AAA baseball stadium and renovation of closed casinos.
The arts in July lift the spirits of our residents and visitors. Artists presented are of the highest caliber and will heighten awareness of sub-cultures within our community and from around the globe. We challenge audiences to expand their definition of culture by presenting accessible and free performances by artists who use their music and dance to convey the passion for their heritage and rich traditions of their culture.
This year, we commissioned three artists that grew up and were raised in Reno through Artown’s formulative years. We have come full circle with the inclusion of these artists.
I am proud to represent our community in July! Here’s to the next 20 years.