Although Reno is known for many things, the arts have grown to a place of prominence throughout the city in recent years. Much of it centers around the Truckee River Arts District, a river walk area that features a number of galleries and other institutions, like the Sierra Arts Foundation.
“The foundation has artists’ lofts right downtown along the river,” said Ben McDonald, communications manager at the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. “It’s a building where people go to hone their craft and continue working in art. You have to demonstrate your skills to qualify to live there.”
In addition to visiting the Sierra Arts Foundation, tourists can check out spots like Gallery 3, a trendy modern art museum and gallery, and the Nevada Museum of Art, the only nationally accredited museum in the state of Nevada.
Other arts institutions around town include the McKinley Arts and Cultural Center, a historic building that has been converted into a gallery and studio space for local artists, and the St. Mary’s Art Center, where visitors can take hands-on art classes.
Groups may want to schedule their visits to coincide with Reno’s Artown festivities in July.
“For the entire month of July, there are about 400 different attractions, from music to dance to painting,” McDonald said. “About 60 percent of the events are free, and a large majority of them take place right around the Truckee River.”
— www.visitrenotahoe.com —
Santa Fe, N.M.
History and nature have played a big role in the development of Santa Fe’s arts community.
“Santa Fe’s art history goes back to its Native American culture and the functional things that turned into art forms in pottery, weaving and baskets,” said Steve Lewis, public relations representative for the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“In the beginning of the 20th century, artists from the East Coast started migrating here, looking for new inspiration and new ideas. They found that in the landscape and the exotic culture here. The light in our part of the world is pretty special, and they picked up on that.”
The arts scene grew quickly throughout the 1900s, becoming one of the hallmarks of Santa Fe. Today, visitors will find more 240 art galleries throughout the city. Canyon Road has 100 galleries, making it one of the most artistic streets in the country.
Groups can split up for free time to visit the galleries at Santa Fe Plaza or the Railyard, or pay a visit to the art market at the Palace of the Governors.
“The palace was first erected by the Spanish when they came here 400 years ago,” Lewis said. “Underneath the large porch at the palace is a Native American vendors market. There are up to 80 artists there every day. You can hear their stories and learn about why they create what they create.”
Art-lovers may want to plan to visit during the summer, when the city hosts a series of large public art markets.
— www.santafe.org —