COMMUNITY LEADERS GUIDING OTHERS, BRINGING A SENSE OF HOPE DURING THESE CHALLENGING TIMES.
STAR Navigator Oliver X
STAR Navigator Oliver X

By Britton Griffith

The COVID-19 outbreak left us grieving for a life that once was. The buzzing, the vibrations, the electricity of July downtown. We craved sunshine on our faces and laughter in the park during this celebratory season. We were left yearning imagination, interaction, and feeling that summer warmth with our friends and our community.

This year also marked the 25th anniversary of Artown, a non-profit corporation whose mission is to inspire community through the arts. Each year, the festival hosts 300,000+ attendees at over 100 venues, including major events that fundraise for art organizations for the entire year. With restrictions on large gatherings and event cancellations, this beloved happening had to pivot in nearly every way.

Introducing Heartown. Lead by community activist, artist, creator, marketing director of Artown, and my dear friend Oliver X, Heartown brought a whole lot of inspiration to Reno/Tahoe.

These times have further emboldened me to give more, to express gratitude as a central tenet in my life, and to practice empathy and daily compassion for others.

“These times have further emboldened me to give more, to express gratitude as a central tenet in my life, and to practice empathy and daily compassion for others,” X states. “These [values] seem fundamental, but the ‘more me mine’ culture of scarcity is difficult to unlearn. Empathy in action as an exercise, at least for me, has validated how much direct community arts engagement changes lives and restores hope.”

Where there is love, there is a way. The LOVE sculpture found a permanent home at Renown Regional Medical Center in downtown Reno and inspired the Heartown campaign.

X continues, “The entire Heartown process has been truly inspiring and heartwarming. To see families working together to make art for others, to uplift our spirits and create more beauty in the world, has been a gift that is priceless.”

My favorite way to toast this incredible event is to stop by The Brewer’s Cabinet in the Riverwalk District and sip on the Artown Silver Lager, a crisp, refreshing, Vienna-style brew that is perfect for any season. They will donate $1 from every Artown Silver Lager sold to Artown.

While 2020’s Artown was different, the heart and soul of this event was seen, felt and heard throughout the area, this July and year-round.

To learn more and support Artown, visit artown.org.

 

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