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Reno's Artown

Artown Presents Over 400 Art and Cultural Events


Reno Artown Reno arts culture artists events festivals performances music dance family activities

Reno is Artown

Logo image courtesy Artown
Apr 28 2011

What is Artown?

Artown 2009 is the 14th annual incarnation of this festival. It runs the entire month of July at numerous venues around Reno and includes an amazing variety of art and cultural events. Hundreds of the events are free to the public, including Rollin’ on the River, Dancing in the Park, Discover the Arts, and Movies in the Park. Get more information from the Artown website or by calling (775) 322-1538.

Beth Macmillan, executive director of Artown, gives us a description of Artown 2009: "Our dynamic programming for 2009 reaches new bounds and provides a platform for an unprecedented July full of events. This year we’re setting an Artown record with more than 400 events, of which over 60% are free. Tallied up, there are approximately eight unique no-cost events featured daily. As we enter our 14th year, we do so optimistically and with several new additions."

Artown is a colorful visual delight everywhere you look. To get a glimpse of what's in store, view my Artown pictures gallery.

Artown: A Brief History

Artown started in 1996 as a way to counteract suburban flight and revitalize downtown Reno by getting more people to visit the city center. An arts themed festival was created through the efforts of civic leaders, business people, and the arts community. With a combination of free and ticketed events, the first Artown attracted an estimated 30,000 participants. Growing rapidly from its initial success, Artown today is a major annual production lasting throughout the month of July. In addition to local and regional talent, internationally known artists regularly perform at Artown. Past performers have included Marcel Marceau, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Diavolo Dance Theater, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Pilobolus, Vusi Mahlasela, Mikhail Baryshnikov, American Ballet Theater, and Pink Martini.

Artown today consists of over 400 art and cultural events attended by over 350,000 people. Most events are free to the public, including some performances by world famous artists. Ticketed events are held at various venues around town such as the Pioneer Theater and hotel/casino theaters.The City of Reno is Artown's major sponsor, aided by other government entities and businesses in the Reno / Tahoe region. The Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts provide support as well.

Controlled Burn Lights Up Artown 2009

Controlled Burn is a Reno fire dancing group that performs at various events throughout the area. During Artown, Controlled Burn is performing Fire Jam! at 9 p.m. every Tuesday evening in The Celtic Forest art installation, corner of Sierra St. and the Truckee River. The Book of the Raven and surrounding Treelabras will be flaming in the night sky to accompany the dancers. The Celtic Forest was at Burning Man 2008. These Fire Jam! video clips will give you a look a what the performance is like...

Artown Events

With over 400 Artown events, I can't possibly list them all. To get the full list, go to the Artown 2009 Event Calendar. You can get your very own schedule by ordering the Little Book of Artown or picking one up at any of the numerous Artown venues.

Artown event categories are free, ticketed, family, multicultural, and youth outreach. Big ticketed events for 2009 include Chris Botti, Ottmar Liebert, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, and The Funk Brothers. There is truly something for everyone. You can buy tickets online and get more information by calling (775) 322-1538.

Little Book of Artown

The Little Book of Artown contains a complete listing of all Artown events in a pocket size package. With the Little Book, you'll know when and where everything is happening; international musical performances, national dance, theater, multi-cultural events, family and youth activities and entertainment, hands-on workshops for emerging artists and more. Get your copy at these locations: Artown office in the Park Center Tower, 300 E. Second St., the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno City Hall at 1 E. 1st St., all Washoe County libraries and U.S. Bank locations. You can also get your Little Book by ordering online.

Artown Opening Night Celebration

Artown's opening night offers a special opportunity for kids to join the fun. On the west island of Wingfield Park, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 1, children can participate in face painting by Body Masterpiece and free art activities. They will also get a free t-shirt. At 7 p.m., the kids can display their art in a procession to the amphitheater area of Wingfield Park. Participation is limited to 260 children - make reservations by calling Artown at (775) 323-1538.

Opening night in Wingfield Park continues at 7:30 p.m. with a free performance by Richie Havens. He has been in the music scene for over four decades and has over 30 albums to his credit. For those of us old enough to remember, Havens was the opening act at Woodstock in 1969.

Artown Accommodations in Reno

If you are traveling to Reno for Artown, it's probably a good idea to book hotel accommodations and reserve a rental car ahead of time. Over 350,000 people attend Artown and Reno is busy during July with other events as well. Sources: Artown and press releases from Kristen Power, RKPR, Inc.

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