Artown holds the stage

Singing, dancing, workshops featured through end of July

PHOTO/ PAA KOW: Paa Kow, dubbed Ghana's most artistic drummer, blends the rhythm and artistry from his native Ghanaian Highlife music with modern jazz, creating his own unique Afro-Fusion sound on July 24.

The second half of Artown 2021 features nationally-known music acts, world-wide cultural connections, kids’ activities, workshops, hundreds of films and art exhibits through the end of July.

The 25-year-old annual festival defines summer in the Truckee Meadows and showcases events in Reno, Sparks, Carson City and North Lake Tahoe. Families can take art classes and enjoy arts activities across the artistic spectrum, from textiles and pottery, to slam poetry, workshops, literary events, life drawing, oil painting, sculpture, hip-hop dance, burlesque, modern dance to ballet.

Tickets are still available for Artown’s Midtown Music Series (Sunday nights), Monday Night Music Series, Cultural Connections (Wednesday nights), Headliner Series (Thursday nights) and the popular Friday Night Music Series (formerly Rollin’ on the River). Tickets for all shows can be purchased online,  where a complete listing of all of Artown’s 31 days of events can be found.

On the main stage: 

Other events include:

  • July 14 through July 31; Discover the Artsis an entire month of kids’ artistic discovery of all artistic disciplines outdoors at the McKinley Arts & Culture Center, 925 Riverside Drive in Reno. Details: Rosie Brownlow, outreach@artown.org
  • July 14, 15 and 28: Evening on the Ranch at Bartley Ranch Regional Park continues on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Tours of Bartley’s historic ranch buildings are offered and live music includes performances by Sage Creek on July 14; The bluegrass group Monday Night Volunteers on July 15t; and Dom and Friends on July 28. Tours start at 6 p.m., followed by the music at 7 p.m.  All performances are free; a $3 per-person donation is encouraged.

Nick Eng at Lazy 5

Nick Eng headlines the Lazy 5 Summer Music Series July 14.
• July 14: The Washoe County Regional Parks & Open Space presents the 16th Annual Lazy 5 Summer Music Series of 2021 with a performance by Reno’s own Nick Eng starting at 6:30 p.m. with gates open at 5 p.m. Free, with food trucks available. Lazy 5 is located at 7100 Pyramid Way in Sparks.
July 15: Learn a ballet routine with ballet dancer extraordinaire Keely Cobb. Then, take an art project home or complete it onsite. For kids ages 6 -12. This event will take place outside, on the lawn of the McKinley Arts and Culture Center, 925 Riverside Drive.
* July 15: TWNN Presents a live performance of “The Wizard of Oz” from noon to 1 p.m. at the TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada, 315 Spokane St. in Reno. Tickets are $10 for kids; $15, adults.
* July 16: The Reno Fine Arts Collective Gallery presents RFAC Talks every Friday evening featuring presentations from local artists and industry experts. Artist Jennifer Charboneau is featured July 16. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. with talks beginning at 4:30 p.m. and presentations starting at 5:30 p.m. Complimentary beer and wine are served; bar drinks available for purchase. The RFAC Gallery features original artworks from more than 30 artist members in celebration of the HeART of Reno at the gallery, 200 S. Virginia St, Suite 100.

Recipes and tango

  • July 16: Join Reno Recipes at 5 p.m. as they teach the art of steak roulade, shaved truffle potatoes and broccoli rabe at Our Center, 1745 South Wells Ave, Reno. Tickets are $30, which include the meal. But you can also attend free and buy other food items while in attendance. The event helps raise money and awareness for Our Center.
  • July 16: Tango Poetry with Flor Argento from 6 to 7 p.m. on Zoom. Flor Argento is a dancer and historian whose  work focuses on preserving the history of tango dance. She will help us unveil the secrets and mysteries of tango.

Live theater; history workshops

  • July 17: When Churchyards Yawn,” the debut of an original play by Jeanmarie Simpson. It’s 40 years later, and all the dead Hamlet characters have graduated from Limbo to purgatory and they don’t like being in lockdown. Free. Curtain is at 10 a.m. at the Potentialist Workshop, 836 E. Second St. in Reno.
  • July 17:We Want to Change the World: A Songwriter’s Vision Musical Event” is scheduled at Reno City Plaza, 10 N. Virginia St., from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission: $10, adults; $5, kids under age 10.
  • July 23: “Firsts and Lasts in Nevada: The Notorious.” Hear stories about some of Nevada’s bad men and women and their outcomes — things like the first train robbery, first woman hung in Nevada, last vigilante hanging in Nevada and other firsts and lasts of Silver State history presented by Sam Macaluso, a teacher and docent with the Nevada Historical Society.

Paper-making, architecture and films

  • July 24: “Papermaking Workshop with Tina Drakulich” at Artech, 130 Woodland Ave. in Reno.  Learn basic rag paper production in the Western Tradition of Papermaking In this 3-hour workshop, beginning at 9 a.m. Tickets: $40 Sierra Arts Foundation members; $50 nonmembers.  Details: 329-2737 or  at Sierra Arts Foundation online.  
  • July 24: “Lake Tahoe Architecture” with Dr. Peter Mires, presented on Zoom by the Historic Reno Preservation Society from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. is an examination of the predominantly rustic architecture seen around Lake Tahoe.  Visit HRPS online for details of this and other Neighborhood Stories offered on Zoom.
  • July 29 through Aug. 2: The five-day Cordillera International Film Festival kicks off July 29 with more than 150 films, premiers, panels and parties. The Cordillera festival again brings Hollywood to Reno, screening films from Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, Cannes and more. Details about tickets and passes are online.  

Cultural connections

  • The LatinX, Afro-Indigenous and Americana music series continues with Inuit songs, drums and dancing  with Pamyua July 14; the phenomenal Grammy-award winning musicians of American Patchwork Quartet on July 21, and Grammy-nominated New Orleans brass band, Mardi Gras Indian outfit Cha Wa on July 28.
  • July 14: “Discover Peruvian Music” on the lawn of the McKinley Arts and Culture Center, 925 Riverside Drive in Reno. For kids ages 6-12; traditional Peruvian music played by local music group Kantu Inka. Kids can take an art project home or complete it onsite.
“Discover Chinese Dance,” July 26.
  • July 25: “Outreach: Afro-fusion drum clinic with Paa Kow,” from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Reno Little Theater,  147 E. Pueblo St. in Reno. Paa Kow, dubbed Ghana’s most artistic drummer, blends the rhythm and artistry from his native Ghanaian Highlife music with modern jazz, creating his own unique Afro-Fusion sound. Free. Details: 842.6681 or online at Renojazz.org.
  • July 26: “Discover Chinese Dance,” 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the McKinley Arts and Culture Center, 925 Riverside Dr. in Reno. A free event for children. Watch fellow kids dazzle you with traditional Chinese dance. Then, take an art project home or complete it onsite! For kids ages 6-12. This event will take place outside, on the McKinley lawn.

Festivals, celebrations

  • July 16; The14th Annual Gospel Fest, at 6 p.m. on the main stage, featuring Grammy Award-winning artist-writer Juanita Wynn and Dove Award-nominated producer K-Ross. Additional performances by The Wynn Sisters, Desean Horne, David Perez, Luke Wynn, Joshua Watson, William J. Wynn, Cherael Murray and Sky Davis.  
  • July 17; SVP in Midtown Celebration at South Virginia Plaza in Midtown, 1525 S. Virginia St.
  • July 17; The 54th Annual Basque Festival, California Building, 75 Cowan Drive.
  • July 24; Cliff Porter’s Full Blast, on the main stage, featuring Blues Hall of Fame Inductee Ernie Johnson.
  • July 24; Reno Pride Parade and Festival at Wingfield Park.
  • July 24: Virtual Story Time Featuring Ginger Devine. Local drag queen, Ginger Devine, celebrates Northern Nevada Pride with a return of Drag Queen Story Hour online at 11 a.m. July 24.  Details: Washoe County Library, 327-8300.

Poets and the Bard

The main venue

This year, Artown’s festival footprint has moved from its traditional home at the Wingfield Park Amphitheater to Washoe County’s Rancho San Rafael Regional Park. Artown festival staff felt that the festival needed much more room than the smaller City park could accommodate under Covid-19 conditions and pandemic uncertainties when the 2021 festival planning began in September of 2020. Artown wanted its supporters to be and feel safe to assemble outdoors.

Rancho affords Artown the luxury of erecting a 40’ x 40’ stage, with state-of-the-art lighting and sound (provided by Starsound) on 4.5 acres of festival grounds, spread out with a collection of 500+ 6’ x 6’ socially distanced seating pods, which can comfortably hold four people with chairs, blankets and food. These pods can be pre-purchased and assigned, or purchased on-site day of show.

 Artown has its usual food and beverage concessions at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, but families also can choose to picnic with their favorite foods from any one of 16 participating “Grab n Go” restaurant locations, curated by Edible Reno-Tahoe Magazine.

About Artown

Now in its 25th festival season, Artown is a non-profit Nevada corporation whose mission is to inspire community through the arts. Each year the festival hosts more than 300,000 attendees at more than  100 venues, set against the backdrop of Northern Nevada’s high desert landscapes, green forests, snow-capped mountains, the Truckee River and Carson River, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe.

Artown is supported, in part, by the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency and the state of Nevada.

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