Local Feature: Episode 521

Learn about the new 2020 Artown

AIRED: July 09, 2020 | 0:07:36

- Hello welcome to ARTEFFECTS.

During the COVID-19 pandemic,

a number of different events

and festivals have been canceled.

However, the word canceled

doesn't even come to mind to the Artown team.

They're redesigning the popular July festival

into something everyone can enjoy.

- Artown is a celebration of the arts

every summer that helped define summer for Reno.

Artown takes place over 31 days in July,

July 1st through 31st.

- We partner with about 150

different arts organizations to make it happen

and about 75% of the events are free.

And we estimate an attendance every year

of about 300,000 people.

COVID-19 has affected Artown in every way possible.

- February 28th, we got a message from Dragon Lights,

which was at Artown in 2018.

Due to the air restrictions from China to America,

that there was a no-fly policy coming from China

but that precluded the Chinese-based Dragon Lights

from coming to America.

And so that's when it really came home to us.

When we started to have cancellations

on either legacy projects or phenomenal projects

that have made a big impact on the community.

So we knew it was real then.

- When COVID first happened,

I really believed that we may be able to have July

as Artown always is.

And I was planning festival A, and festival B

and possibly festival C.

And there came a point when I realized

that I needed to let go of that which was only a maybe

and focus on that which we could do.

We are not canceling the festival.

We are pivoting to make it different.

- We knew Artown will be in 2020,

a mixture of 60% live events

versus 40% virtual events.

To replace our normal ticketed

and large gathering programming,

we've decided to take art the people

and make them the headliners

in their own expressions of art

and expressions of support.

Not only for our first responders,

but also for just love and unity as a culture.

So we came up with the idea called Heartown,

and it's where we're asking people

to show us their heart through their art.

It came up through one of our board members,

how people were doing block by block.

They were doing expressions to show solidarity

to our first responders

who have been adversely affected

by the COVID-19 outbreak.

And so what we wanted to do is acknowledge that

and go how can we participate in the solution

and in the messaging and the positive messaging?

And before we knew it we had an idea

and we called it Heartown

and we sold it to ourselves first,

sold it to the board next,

and then we're selling it to the community now.

- Everyone in the community can participate in it,

whatever kind of art you wanna create.

You're welcome to create,

whether that's garden art

or whether it's glass art,

or whether it's a painting

or whether it's rock art,

whatever your expression of art is,

is what we want to see.

- Love conquers all

and we think that doing that Heartown symbol,

that heart symbol is something

that resonates with everybody.

So that maybe for the first time,

Artown can really be in the streets at your home,

on your block, at your place of work, in your driveway.

Anything, any expression

that shows your heart through your art.

We're helping to get art supplies out to the community.

We have 1000 art kits,

that are gonna be donated to underserved members

of our community through programs

like the Boys & Girls Club of the Truckee Meadows,

places like Eddie House and Our Center.

They're gonna come into a tote bag with crayons,

markers, paints, and poster board.

- I'll bet you that everybody's backyard

and gardens are better than they've ever been

because nobody's going anywhere

and everybody wants beauty,

and creativity around them.

So whether it's art in their garden,

or if it's art in their kitchen,

or if it's art in drawing pictures,

or writing stories

or telling stories

or listening to the radio

or watching a film on television

or streaming something,

streaming documentary

streaming conversations,

conversations they've may never have heard before,

or may never have been interested in before.

People have time to make space in their world

to take in more creativity.

It's very important that Artown continue to go

even if it's different this year,

because our community is hurting

and our community needs something to look forward to,

something to lift them up.

The arts are part of the healing and that's us

and this is a time in the summer

when people really, really wanted to have

an opportunity to gather with their friends,

and neighbors, and families.

So what can we offer them that makes them feel better?

And I really believe that Artown

is gonna do that this year.

- People are turning to art more at this time

because there's more time to be reflective.

Art heals, art unifies,

art is an expression of our imagination.

So I think this is gonna be a unique year

where people can find blessings in hidden places.

Artown is for everybody,

but we only really wanna live that.

- [Narrator] Funding for ARTEFFECTS,

is made possible by The Bentley Foundation,

Sandy Raffealli, The June S. Wisham Estate,

Kate & Richard Kenney, The Nell JSON. Redfield Foundation,

the annual contributions of PBS Reno Members and by..

(soft music)


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