Executive Director's Message

The Reno arts community was blessed by a visit from Chairman Jane Chu from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) when she visited Artown and other arts organizations. In addition, Andi Mathis, Program Specialist from the NEA gave a tutorial reviewing the process by which all non-profits may apply for funding from the NEA.

Artown was honored to receive a site visit as they arrived in Reno.  She joined the Artown team for an in-depth chat about the arts in our community and the accessibility of Artown and all its partners.    We talked about how the arts have redefined Reno and that as an industry we have come together to engage our community in the arts.  It was so inspiring to me that the energy and creativity that exist in Reno are in alignment with how the NEA speaks about the arts throughout the nation. 

It is with tremendous pride that we discussed how Artown has used the arts as a tool for our community to embrace all of our similarities and celebrate our differences, culturally and artistically.  We are culturally rich, diverse and accepting of all creativity.  It is a privilege to live and work in the arts in Reno and I am very proud of all the artists, administrators, funders and patrons with whom we create.  Artown has been a catalyst for change and through our tireless efforts to be inclusive we have been able to break down barriers and silos that existed some time ago in our community.   Art and culture have redefined Reno! 

The artists and arts organizations in Reno have been built on a strong foundation from many years ago.  These include The Reno Phil, Nevada Museum of Art, Nevada Opera, Nevada Festival Ballet, Sierra Arts Foundation, Bruka Theater, Reno Little Theater and many of the casino shows who had hundreds of dancers, singers and musicians.  If we fast forward to now, 22 years after Artown started, this community is bustling with artists creating work in many disciplines and of many styles.  Thanks also to the influence of Burning Man and artist work spaces, the opportunities are far and wide.  Technology in the arts has also been established as another significant cog in the arts wheel.

Chairman Chu spoke about how the arts have helped children at schools, veterans, the disabled, those with language barriers and people suffering with physical and mental illness.  Yes, the arts are good for business, quality of life and make us feel good about ourselves but they also provide the tools to build a healthy and vibrant community.  The arts have been doing this for years and now even more than ever, Reno is thriving in the arts.  The endorsement by the NEA visiting and congratulating us confirms and validates everything we have achieved. 

There is no more “we are going to become a cultural center”…… we ARE a cultural center and proud of the journey we have taken to get here.  Now is the time that our roots will continue to deepen allowing the arts to blossom.  There is no end is sight but our arts journey is well on its way! 



City of Reno