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The return of Artown


By Cooper Clark

With summertime in full swing, Reno’s beloved Artown festival is back for a 27th consecutive season on its opening day this Friday, July 1. The popular annual production aims to celebrate the rich arts and music culture of Reno by hosting and coordinating a series of artistic events, concerts, live shows and other family-friendly opportunities every single day of July. 

This year Artown brings the arts to life with more than 600 different events across the Truckee Meadows. The festival is repeating last year’s theme, “Everybody Artown!,” to again highlight community access to the arts. Because of this, 230 of this year’s events are entirely free to the public. 

Adding to the cultural inclusivity, Artown has planned various festivities hosted in eight different languages. 

The opening day will bring events including children’s arts and music activities in the McKinley Arts & Culture Center, a parade into Wingfield Park alongside the Hug High Band and the eNVision Drummers, followed by a performance from musician Cliff Porter. Gates open at the McKinley Center at 4:15 p.m., and admission is free to all. 

Artown will bring its outdoor events back to popular venues such as Bartley Ranch Regional Park, the Wingfield Park amphitheater and the Brasserie Saint James stage in Midtown.

The festival will also be expanding its reach to Idlewild Park to host acrobatic performances of the San Francisco-based Circus Bella July 2-3. 

Silk animals that were part of the Dragon Lights installation for Artown in July 2018. Image: Ty O’Neil / This is Reno

In addition to these locations, Artown will kick off at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park with the popular visual arts exhibition Dragon Lights 2022. Dragon Lights was part of the 2018 festival and has the Wilbur D. May Arboretum and Botanical Gardens scattered with illuminated art and lanterns. 

The festival is structured with different series of events on each day of the week: 

On Sunday nights, the Midtown Concert Series will be at Brasserie Saint James. 

Mondays will bring more nights of music from various talents at the Bartley Ranch Regional Park, including a special Patriotic Salute by the Reno Jazz Orchestra on July 4. 

Artown’s Tuesday Night Series focuses on the artistic talent that arises from the University of Nevada, Reno alumni with Artown on the Quad. From ballet dancing, to string quartets and jazz ensembles, the university space will be flowing with creativity every week. 

Wednesday nights will bring Artown back to the Wingfield Park Amphitheater for its Cultural Connections events. In line with this year’s theme, the international experiences range from Brazilian carnivals to South Asian percussion, Cuban hip-hop to Zydeco blues.

Bartley Ranch on Thursday nights has some of the festival’s headliner performances: the 2021 winners of The Voice, Girl Name Tom, as well as several other award winning musical performances. 

Fridays on the Truckee River, again at Wingfield Park, features musicians, choirs, and even the Reno Taiko and Mariachi Plata de Reno on July 15. 

The Artown Festival is an annual Reno tradition that has worked to inspire the community through the multidisciplinary arts, as well as to elevate our economy and national identity for nearly three decades. This summer will surely be another fun and successful festival season for Artown Reno. For tickets and more information, visit www.artown.org.

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