This year’s Artown is ‘Heartown’

Virtual and live events mark 2020 summer art festival

IMAGE/ARTOWN: This year’s poster is the work of artist Ivette Valenzuela. Scroll to the end of the story for a look at the complete artwork.

The usual large outdoor gatherings are banned and audiences aren’t assembling within big indoor venues either, but Artown, whether virtual or live, is still the summer’s hot ticket.

Dance and theater, music and art remain on the menu for July. And the festival is asking residents to submit their own artwork with the theme of “Heartown” as part of the event’s 25th anniversary celebration.

COVID-19 precautions, including masks, are required for attendees at all live events. Links for some of the virtual offerings are provided below. A full schedule is available here.

Here’s a look at some of this week’s highlights:

Ongoing through July 31: Live — Paddles & Palettes: A Public Art Project, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sparks Museum & Cultural Center, 814 Victorian Avenue, Sparks.

Tuesday, July 7: Live — Spanish guitar favorite Milton Merlos plays Wild River Grille’s Summer Dinner Concert Series, Wild River Grill, 17 S. Virginia St., Reno, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., outdoors on the patio, reservations are recommended, (775) 284-7455.

Wednesday, July 8: Vitual — Pablo Picasso: A Chautauqua, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Pablo Picasso’s artistic genius and larger than life existence as performed by veteran Chautauquan Doug Mishler. Link to his live performance on Zoom by hitting the “join event” button.

Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m.: Virtual — Catch For The Love of Jazz Live Studio Sessions. This week don’t miss The Reno Jazz Syndicate: Modern Dance Trio featuring Miguel Jimenez Cruz, Zachary Teran, and Tristan Selzler on piano performing his original composition entitled “Selfdance.”

Thursday, July 9: Live — 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sierra Arts Foundation Gallery 17 S. Virginia Street, Free. – Around The World in 80 Movies, a discussion with Robin Holabird, author, film expert, and world traveler. Holabird talks about Reno screen icons and other movie matters during Artown and this and other presentations. A former board member and president of Sierra Arts Foundation, she writes regularly about films and their locations. Her weekly program airs on Reno’s NPR affiliate KUNR at 88.7 FM every Friday. She also provides film commentary for KOH radio. Her newest book, “Around the World in 80 Movies,” published by Ice Cube Press, focuses on the links between films and travel destinations.

Friday Movies at the Drive-in: Live —  West Wind El Rancho Drive-in 555 El Rancho Drive-in Sparks. Tickets: adults, $7.75; children ages 5-11, $1.75. See the El Rancho Website for what’s playing this week.

Saturday July 11: Live — 6th Annual Lavender Day,  9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Labyrinth Garden at the May Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 1595 N. Sierra Street, Rancho San Rafael Park. Free admission. Please wear a mask or face covering. Demonstrations on harvesting, cooking and infusing with lavender; lavender plants for sale; vendors; artists; and more. Details.

 For a full listing of Artown events and performances, visit

Artown 2020 Merchandise is available, including Artown Silver Lager (in partnership with The Brewer’s Cabinet), Artown 25th Anniversary t-shirts; reusable cups; posters; and even art masks sewn by Susan Hill. Check them out at Artown’s MERCH Facebook page.

See Artown’s opening night video, featuring this year’s star performers. Here’s a video profile of Ivette Valenzuela, the gifted artist who created Artown’s 2020 poster, below. Artown is asking members of the public to submit their own artwork as part of this year’s celebration. Details are here.

IMAGE/ARTOWN: The festival’s 2020 poster by artist Ivette Valenzuela.

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