Innumerable arts, cultural, and live events will keep downtown Reno vibrant and active during the city’s Artown in July, affording adults and children the opportunity to get outdoors, expand their cultural horizons and experience summer fun.
“We continue to strive to make Artown meaningful as Reno grows,” said Beth Macmillan, Artown executive director. “We pride ourselves on playing a significant role in the impressive quality of life in the Truckee Meadows. Wherever you wander throughout our community during July, there is art everywhere.”
Festivities start June 30 with a 21st anniversary opening night jubilee scheduled from 5 to 11 p.m. at Wingfield Park. A number of artistic experiences are planned, all free of charge. This event and others are made available by Artown’s sponsors, of which there are more than 40.
In the same evening, an Arlington Bridge Art Faire will occur from 5 to 9 p.m., featuring more than 40 local artists lined up along the Arlington Avenue Bridge at Wingfield Park. Artown goers will find local and regional artists showcasing their visual art. And not to leave out sound and music — there also will be several bands and musicians performing throughout the evening, including Drinking with Clowns, Moondog Matinee and Mojo Green.
World Music and Dance Series
Everyone likes a little bit of dance, music and diverse culture, especially when it’s outdoors in a picturesque setting and along to live music. For this reason, Artown’s Cultural Connections Series returns to Wingfield Park on Wednesdays from 7:30-10 p.m. in July. This year’s lineup includes the African Children’s Choir on July 6, Mariachi Flor de Toloache (an all-female mariachi band) on July 13, Ginkgoa on July 20 and Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe on July 27. And it’s all free of charge.
“Artown showcases diverse, cultural and ethnic artistic expressions, through music, dance, visual arts and mini-festivals, providing attendees with a sampling of cross culture offerings,” said Jennifer Mannix, Artown’s marketing director.
The Cultural Connections Series has been an integral part of Artown’s festival for years, giving visitors the chance to explore the sights and sounds of exquisite world music while moving their bodies along. This series is extremely popular because it erodes away cultural barriers, extends inclusiveness, showcases diversity and broadens the region’s knowledge of other cultures and artistic forms, Mannix said.
Family Series 2016
Of course, Artown is known for its emphasis on family fun. Visitors may want to stay past the weekend to take advantage of the Family Series 2016, scheduled on Monday evenings from 5-8 p.m. All events occur at Wingfield Park, which lays right along the city’s Riverwalk and has a grassy field for blankets and chairs.
The Family Series kicks off on Monday, July 4 — yes, Independence Day — with a free performance by the Reno Philharmonic. This is followed by a performance by Galumpha on July 11, a group that promises stunning acrobatics, unique visual effects, physical comedy and more. On July 18, “Alice in Wonderland” will be performed by TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada, and July 25 showcases the work of Faustwork Mask Theatre. This will feature an array of characters, such as a wise guy, alien, and monster, brought to life through the use of masks.
“Reno is a region that is rich and robust with art and culture,” Mannix said. “By staying relevant in the industry and constantly attracting new and diverse audiences, Artown is known as one of the largest and most comprehensive festivals in the country,”
Enjoying these events is as easy as throwing down a blanket and bringing food along. However, several food vendors will be set up in the dirt field adjacent to the park. (And there are portable toilets available in the park, too.)
Summer Soiree Under the Stars
Among this year’s unique events are concerts scheduled on Thursday evenings at the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch Regional Park. The lineup includes case/lang/veirs on July 7 — in other words, Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs. On July 14, Rosanne Cash performs with John Leventhal in celebration of her three-time 2014 Grammy-wining album “The River and the Thread.” July 21 features a “National Cowboy Poetry Gathering” presented by the Reno Rodeo Foundation and Artown. On July 29, the British reggae band UB40 performs with founding members Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue in tow. Lawn seating is available in this intimate setting. Go to www.renoisartown.com to purchase tickets.
There are so many additional summer events planned that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. The Artown website is an excellent way to find out what’s happening. A Little Book calendar of events will be available online June 30 at www.renoisartown.com.
“To commemorate its 21st year, Artown continues to garner support from likeminded businesses that believe in the power and economic impact of the arts,” Mannix said. “Through this support, residents and visitors are able to experience the highest caliber of artistic excellence alongside local talent including artistic performances, art installations, street art and many diverse genres that contribute to revitalizing the image of downtown.”
Overall, more than 500 events should occur throughout July as part of Artown. A sampling of other events includes a Steinway Piano Performance on July 5, a Day of Visual Arts throughout neighborhoods and districts on July 9, a family urban art walk on July 20, and a Sunday Music Brunch on July 24. Even July 31 is chock full of events — nearly a dozen planned — promising a fantastic close to an entire month that will brim with cultural and artistic activities and experiences.