Reno’s monthlong festival continues to delight and deliver.
For 28 years, Reno has transformed into Artown for the month of July. The nationally recognized event brings hundreds of performances in dance, music, and theater, not to mention art shows. Last year, Artown held more than 600 performances across 125 venues. International performers and headliners joined regional and local artists to entertain more than 300,000 attendees. Artown’s Executive Director Beth Macmillan—who has spearheaded the event since 2001—has succeeded in her mission to bring the world to Reno.
The phenomenal success of this event, which began as a way to bring people back to Reno’s downtown, is undeniable. It is a major economic boon for the city, and it’s helped transform the community each summer. Non-traditional businesses pop up as venues each year, hosting small events and displaying the work of local artists.
It also serves as an educational tool: artists from Israel, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Colombia, and Canada share a literal world of experience with audiences, including children.
Engaging children is a priority for the nonprofit organization. Artown offers many events designed to introduce children to a diverse selection of the arts including opera, Shakespeare, taiko drumming, and so much more. The Discover the Arts series provides 20-plus days of children’s arts education programs, and Artown even puts on a play each summer starring local talent.
THE SHOW MUST GO ON…AND ON
Inevitably, the energy and passion surrounding the festival began to spill over the boundaries of its 31-days. In 2011, the Encore series was officially born, and while July remains the cornucopia, the rest of the year’s offerings are surprisingly abundant.
Encore shows run the gamut each year, bringing artists who might not visit Reno normally. The 2022 Encore season included jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, Dance Theater of Harlem, Pink Martini, Soweto Gospel Choir, and musical performer Isaac Mizrahi.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
The complete list of Artown events for 2023 will be announced after press time, but festival programing will continue to expand into diverse communities and alternative venues. Some initial plans include bringing indigenous programming to Idlewild Park. Also slated for Idlewild are free concerts with the Reno Municipal Band. Artown’s annual showcase with Sierra Nevada Ballet will be at Bartley Ranch. Showstopping headliners will appear at concerts at the Grand Sierra Resort and on a special Sunday evening event at Bartley Ranch.
Among the reasons for Artown’s popularity, the chance to watch a concert or dance performance under the stars on a warm summers evening is definitely top on many lists. Multiple venues such as Bartley Ranch and Wingfield Park offer outdoor amphitheaters, which adds a layer of excitement to the performances.
With the incredible variety of events to choose from, visitors lucky enough to find themselves in Reno in July can dive into the arts in unprecedented ways. Around every corner, the rich arts and culture scene is sure to delight and illuminate. After all, Reno is Artown.
Artown 2023 Highlights
July 1 MarchFourth Marching Band with *Choir Choir Choir
July 1-31 Dragon Lights
July 6 Dancing in the Streets
July 7 Sierra Nevada Ballet
July 7, 14, 21, 28 Movies in the Park
July 22 Pride Parade & Festival
July 29 Base Camp:
Festival 6 – EDM/DJ Dance Festival
July 6 John Pizzarelli
July 11 Nickel Creek
July 13 Omar Sosa & Quarteto Americano
July 16 Jesse and Joy
July 20 Taj Mahal
July 27 Dianne Reeves