Take us to the river

The arts community—never one of the popular kids when it comes to public funding—has taken a hard hit this year. Money for art teachers in the schools has been reduced, museums have cut hours, grants are increasingly competitive. This at a time when the country’s eighth- graders just received a failing grade for achievement in the arts, according to a National Assessment of Education Progress in the Arts report. Artists are always having to convince people they’re not only relevant, but necessary. We say: Imagine a world without art—without singing, dancing, painting, drawing, poetry, or right-brained thinking—and ask yourself if it’s a place you’d like to be.

Why am I reiterating this depressing stuff? Only to say that now is your chance. Every July, more than half of the events under the Artown umbrella are free. It’s nearly impossible to find a day at Wingfield Park—not to mention the local art galleries, theaters, cafés and public buildings—when there is not something free and artsy going on. There you are, sitting by the river, licking an ice cream cone or sucking down a beer, and over there on the stage is a contemporary dance piece underway, or a famous reggae artist, or a gospel festival or gigantic puppets or … you get the idea. It’s art in your face, literally. There’s no getting around it, so you might as well succumb.

This issue attempts to make that process go down easy by pointing out some of the great events—both free and ticketed—Artown has lined up, including RN&R’s annual concert series Rollin’ on the River.

Happy July!

Take us to the river
Welcome to the first ever combined Artown and Rollin’ on the River guide. And you thought there was nothing to do this summer …

The opener
Richie Havens on Woodstock, Hendrix, Dylan and what he’s been up to in the 40 years since.

Signed, sealed, delivered
The Funk Brothers are the most important and popular band you’ve never heard of.

Serious groove
The Mark Sexton Band is working on their soul.

In transition
The Stately Gentlemen.

Musica in the park
Los Pingous bring el ritmo to Wingfield Park.

Special blend
Drinking with Clowns.

SoCal siren
Independent-minded rocker Krissi Moses debuts her EP in Reno.

Lady sings the blues
Lisa McCuiston opens for Krissi Moses at Rollin.’

Roots rockabilly
Rockabilly Hall of Famers Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys.

The Trainwrecks are anything but
Reno’s premiere rockabilly band gets you dancing.

Steam engine
Michele Lundeen returns to her second home to sing the blues.

Isn’t it time you visited Jo Mama?
From blues to funk, salsa and rox, Jo Mama loves to mix it up.

Something to say
Ben Arnold hosts weekly poetry open mics and slams for Reno youth.

Dance dance revelation
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is the un-Swan Lake

Powerful point
Studio on 4th brings Levity to the Art of Coming Out.

Screen savers
Who’s afraid of Mary Poppins?

The fine print
Candace Nicol, an artist whose work is usually too controversial for Artown, created this year’s festival poster.

Play time
Missoula Children’s Theatre gets local kids on stage.

The music plays on
Artown extends the season.