2686546021_dba10c5205_zKnown for pushing the artistic boundaries, Artown’s participating artists continue to expand the festival’s reach by taking their own performances and exhibits to a higher level to light up your nights. More than half the Artown events are FREE to the public, including those highlighted in this post!

The influence of Burning Man, an annual arts and counterculture festival held north of Reno in the Black Rock Desert, has crept into Artown over the years; bringing a funky, free-spirited and fiery style of art. If you have never ventured to Black Rock City, constructed anew every year, to experience the participant-driven event, you can now see a small teaser of the Burning Man culture in downtown Reno.

In 2011, the “burner” aesthetic continues to grow with myriad events, including the one-day festival, Compression! Art and Fire, combining entertainment and art from local artists with exotic displays of fire and dancing.

When you need a mid-week boost, Artown has the perfect cure to fire you up as Spire of Fire builds its residence along downtown Reno’s RiverWalk. The temporary interactive art installation features a stainless steel structure with propane-fueled fire. Every Tuesday evening fire dancers and spinners from Controlled Burn will perform around the ignited sculpture. On Wednesday evenings, hoopers from Velocity Movement and BoHo Hoops take their place for “Get Hooped” hoop jams. Additional “burner-inspired” events to rally for the big week include CommD: Communicable Dis-Ease exhibit, Burner Sewing Class, Fashion Show and Burner Documentary Movies, an exhibition of films from the event.

Stretching to 32 days, beginning with Opening Night June 30 and concluding July 31, Artown is reinventing itself yet again for its sweet 16 anniversary. In addition to the Burning Man-inspired events there are a number of new performances, dynamic artist influences and expanded outreach outside the Reno city limits. You’ll have nearly 400 festivities to pick from this year – 90 percent of which are locally produced.

For more information watch this video and visit RenoIsArtown.com.

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Some scroll through the day. Others seize it. Go do something crazy. And tag it #RenoTahoe so we can see it.