Artown is an excellent benchmark as the central art festival in northern Nevada. Artown, noted by the National Endowment for the Arts as one of the most comprehensive festivals in the country, brings the arts to Reno each July for 31 days. Local residents and visitors of all ages experience the best and the latest in visual and performing arts as Artown hosts more than 400 events (many free), from over 100 presenters each July.
In 2009, Artown changed how it calculated attendance; Star Spangled Sparks, with an estimated 50,000 attendance in 2008, was no longer included in the Artown figures, and the Blues & Brews Fest was no longer included beginning 2010. Consequently, the change in attendance should not be compared to earlier years.
However, even with these changes, the spending per Artown attendee has continued to increase since 2008, demonstrating the large impact of the arts on our local economy, overlooked by many in northern Nevada and the state. Artown attendees spend on average $44.40 per attendee. The Reno is Artown 2012 Final Report reported that according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity IV, the national average arts attendee spends $24.60 per event. Findings also show that non-local attendees spend twice as much as locals. Artown’s 2012 survey showed that nearly 41,020 attendees were out-of-town visitors (estimated 8,614 total room nights or nearly $2 million in economic impact for northern Nevada). Artown further estimated 14% of 2012 attendees were first-time. Artown and all the arts and cultural activities need to be remembered as much for their economic stimulus, as for expanding our quality of life. Artown changed how it collects economic impact data in 2014.
Residents and visitors can also enjoy arts and cultural festivals year-round including the Nevada Chamber Music Festival, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, the Reno Tahoe Blues Fest, Lake Tahoe Music Festival, Squaw Valley Soaring Kites and Blues Festival, Reno Interdisciplinary Festival of New Media, Reno Film Festival, among others. For more information on arts and cultural events, visit the Sierra Arts calendar.