Artown: Tenfold Growth Since Launch

Jun 10, 2016

Artown Executive Director Beth Macmillan speaks for the "Creative Buzz" lecture series in downtown Reno's The Basement market.
Credit Natalie Van Hoozer

In just a few weeks, organizers will kick off the 21st annual Artown festival. The organization anticipates 300,000 people will attend events throughout the month of July.

These estimates mark a large growth for the non-profit; when Artown started in 1996, attendance was 30,000 people.

The festival’s Executive Director Beth Macmillan said the growth of Artown reaches beyond the humanities.

“Because so many of our events are free, people don’t have to spend money on the art but they can come down, we know that [for] everybody in the downtown corridor, July is like their Christmas, " Macmillan said.

"People are down in the park, people are downtown, people are eating, they’re shopping, they’re staying, so the economic impacts of Artown is that the arts are really good for business, and it’s changed the way we use our downtown.”

Macmillan spoke to a small group in downtown for a meeting of “Creative Buzz”, a lecture series designed to help people be more creative through a variety of guest speakers.

Artown kicks off June 30 with an “Opening Night Jubilee” which will feature an art dedication of the Virginia Street Bridge.

Other Artown activities will span a wide range of topics including music, theater and walking tours.

Disclosure: Reno Public Radio is a media sponsor of Artown.