Ready for the art invasion?

Jill Berryman is the executive director of Sierra Arts.

Well, it’s almost here. The month the entire region has been waiting for. In July, Reno is Artown. All 54 organizations involved have been planning for months to bring you another spectacular summer—are you ready for it?

I’m amazed to see the changes in the arts landscape daily. I have lived in Reno for over 30 years. I remember hearing residents say that Reno was a cultural wasteland. That is simply not true. It was not true then, and with the blossoming of Artown, everyone can see that it’s simply not true now.

Most of the organizations participating have been around for some time—Sierra Arts, for example, will be celebrating its 30th birthday in December. Organizations like Nevada Opera, Reno Philharmonic, Nevada Museum of Art and Nevada Festival Ballet have long histories in this area. It just took Artown to springboard the arts to a new platform.

Remember that all 54 organizations are here 12 months a year. Remember that Artown was created for the community to foster its civic identity and enhance Reno’s national image. As organizations, we are riding a terrific wave of cultural and economic rebirth, but it takes residents supporting our organizations all year long to be able to put on such a spectacular month of mostly free events. It takes ticket buyers, members, artists, volunteers, staff, in-kind donations and dollars to support cultural activities. I am not asking you to be a member of every arts organization in town, but I am asking you to support the ones that tickle your fancy the most.

If you cannot give money, give time. Sometimes the best donation is someone answering the phone, putting labels on envelopes or touring children through an exhibit.

The staff of every non-profit organization in town works in this business because we have a passion for it. We want the people who live here to have the opportunity to discover the emotion that the arts can bring. Whether it’s a painting, a dance performance, a poem, a single instrument or an entire orchestra, we all believe that the arts can enhance your life. We love to watch the audiences’ faces as a word or the color red surprises them. We want to share with you all the riches that arts and culture can bring to make the world a better place.

OK, enough of the soap box—you know what arts do for you.

So pick up a schedule. Pick two or three or 10 or 20 events to enjoy. From opening night with Pilobolus Too in Wingfield Park, through the Discover the Arts series every weekday for kids, through the weekend cultural festivals and the finale starring Davis Gaines with the Reno Jazz Orchestra, there is definitely something for everyone. Enjoy.

Everyone must truly thank the city of Reno in July. The City Council, the mayor and the city staff all work long and hard to help give us this gift. Thank the foundations, the sponsors and the organizations for bringing us Artown every July.

Celebrate life. Celebrate Reno. Celebrate art. Reno is Artown.