Welcome to the next 31 days

Welcome to the 13th annual Artown

Go to an Artown news conference, and the first thing you hear about is how the month-long festival in July has stimulated the local economy—to the tune of $15.6 million in direct economic impact, at last count. It’s helped revitalize downtown. And thank you to our sponsors.

That’s nice. Truly. But it’s kind of sad when money is the first thing mentioned regarding an arts festival. And yet, we live in a world where people still need convincing about the intrinsic value of art. Look at any school or state budget and sniff the embers of what were once arts programs.

Studies have shown that art makes you smarter, especially when you make it yourself, be it through dance, a musical instrument or a canvas. It provides outlets for emotions that might otherwise go haywire. It opens our eyes to new views, thoughts and ways of seeing things. It allows us to be compassionate and to imagine what it’s like to be someone else. It helps us to listen and be thoughtful. It reminds us that beauty can still step forth even when all else appears rotten. Beyond economics, art is about the parts of life that make it worth living.

So, here’s to art and to artists and to 31 days of having more options to experience them—often for free—than at any other time of the year in Reno.