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‘Not your typical art and craft fair’
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Jul 20, 2013 | 1396 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo -- The Arts in Bloom festival has made a name for itself in Sparks as the premier arts and culture event, and event producers hope to continue advancing the event and forging it with Reno's Artown.
Tribune file photo -- The Arts in Bloom festival has made a name for itself in Sparks as the premier arts and culture event, and event producers hope to continue advancing the event and forging it with Reno's Artown.
Artown has descended upon Reno for its traditional July takeover, but the City of Sparks made its bid with the annual Arts in Bloom festival Saturday where local art was displayed in more forms than one.

The Reno News and Review had been a 10-year sponsor of the Arts in Bloom event before taking over as its producer this year, bringing in local artists in painting, woodworking, pottery, glasswork, jewelry, music, fashion and even wine. John Murphy, General Manager and Publisher of the local business, said the event has grown to incorporate enough art forms to keep anyone busy.

“You see the work from over 30 local visual artists represented at the event,” Murphy said, “And what is great about that is there are a few of these artists that don’t participate in other similar art events. Some of them don’t even have their work in galleries, but the common denominator is they are all local artists.

“Also, it is not art that you will be able to the see any given day of the week, so there will be some new things that people who normally like to go to art exhibits and fairs will be able to enjoy, but they have another scene. That is one unique aspect about it.”

The ‘scenes’ Murphy spoke of included live local bands fused with wine tasting from John Ascuaga’s Nugget, a fashion show held at the Outlets at Legends and dozens of interesting visual pieces on Victorian Square. With each added dimension, Murphy said, the festival continues to boost its appeal to people to those visiting from Reno’s Artown.

“It is definitely not your typical art and craft fair,” he said.

John Ascuaga’s Nugget chipped in, bringing more than 50 varieties of wine for visitors to sample and purchase outside its property doors facing Victorian Plaza. Nugget Special Events Manager Lisa Jansen said hosting an arts and culture event in Sparks only enhances the ability of the city to become a part of Artown in the future.

“It is really nice to focus on the arts and culture of the community and it is really neat because Artown, happening in Reno, is a great event,” she said. “I love Artown, and it is nice to pull that aspect over to Sparks. We are trying to be a nice contributor to Artown and be a part of it so that Artown covers not only Reno but Sparks as well.

“We really want to become a bigger part of Artown and we want to be involved and have people come over and see what we’ve got going on. We want to be welcomed into the Artown basically.”

A major component of what Murphy called the “working parts” of the event is Victorian Square and Victorian Plaza, a venue which gets a workout during the summer season. Murphy said “great support from the City of Sparks” allowed Arts in Bloom to maximize its space on the plaza, and Jansen said the setting provides a unique atmosphere for visitors.

“It is like you get to walk into a little art community,” Jansen said, “And it’s neat how they set up their shops because it is an artsy neighborhood feel. You actually get to talk to the artists who create these amazing things and that’s really great because as a kid you don't necessarily get access to these kinds of people but here they do have a chance to get inspired.

“It is definitely that main-street, small-town feeling with all the events we have going on down here now and it really shows off our community and what a great place we have. It’s definitely happening here and anything you want to do we have you covered.”

Murphy said transitioning from sponsor to producer was a “learning experience” and part of the agreement with the City of Sparks gives the Reno News and Review first choice to repeat as producer for the 2014 event. Murphy said those plans have yet to be discussed, but will be on the table very soon.

“The plan is to get this event over with and then evaluate what we want to do with it next year. We may keep it in July or move it to another month. We are not sure,” Murphy said, adding that the change in venue and date has occurred multiple times throughout the years. “Now that we have done it once, and we know the logistics behind it, it will make it a lot easier to do it again next year.”
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