Chalk Art, Film Festivals, and More

Artown’s 25th anniversary is just around the corner and will feature more than 300 live and virtual events.

While the month-long festival will differ from what organizers had planned many months ago, there will be many events and artists keeping the spirit of Artown alive. Events planned include the awe-inspiring, fifth annual Chalk Art & Music Festival at the Atlantis, Art Spot Reno’s Downtown and Midtown Mural Tours, the Cordillera International Film Festival, the Midtown Burning Man Parade, and “Heartown” Artown’s ambitious campaign to bring art to the people. Ticketed events and large public concert gatherings at Wingfield Park, the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch, and in Midtown have all been postponed.

Artown’s virtual opening night on July 1 will include all of the previously booked headliners for the festival, including: Keb’ Mo’, March Fourth Marching Band, Sheléa, Tim Snider, Vertigo Dance Company, Playing For Change, Jake Shimabakuro, Buff Sainte-Marie, Hot Sardines, Kronos Quartet, Charlie Musselwhite, AJ Croce, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., Time for Three, Cool Nasty, Pamyua, Na Lei Hulu Wekiu, Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Davina and the Vagabonds, LADAMA, Mariachi Acero de Las Vegas, Paa Kow and Resistance Revival Chorus.

Other notable highlights confirmed for Artown 2020 include:

  • Month-long fine art and maker events at Copper Cat Studio in Sparks – July 1-31
  • Art Walk Reno – July 2
  • 5th Annual Reno Chalk Art & Music Festival – July 10-12 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
  • Day of Visual Arts Weekend – July 10-12,
  • The Inaugural South Virginia Plaza in Midtown Celebration – July 18
  • The Cordillera International Film Festival – July 23-26
  • Midtown Burning Man Parade – July 30

For more information about Artown, you can visit their website here.

Reno is Artown for the entire month of July! Artown’s primary goal is to encourage local artist participation and highlight the best performers in northern Nevada. Additionally, we exist to market and promote these arts events locally, regionally, and nationally as a premier arts festival. Artown, a month-long summer arts festival, features about 500 events produced by more than 100 organizations and businesses in nearly 100 locations citywide. Artown’s mission is to strengthen Reno’s arts industry, enhance our civic identity and national image, thereby creating a climate for the cultural and economic rebirth of our region.

Artown has been inspiring community through the arts since 1996. If you aren’t quite comfortable heading out to events yet, or have to miss this July, you can also help keep Artown free by donating.

Cover image courtesy of This is Reno




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

TEDxReno Makes Its (Virtual) Return

Coming up on June 27, TEDxReno will make its triumphant return for the first time since 2015.

Viewers can join in on this inspiring event by registering in advance for free through EventBrite. Several pre-recorded talks meant to engage and inspire viewers will be released at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday. Participants can join in live during the virtual lunch break and additional virtual breakout sessions with speakers and other experts to keep the conversation going. The event will wrap up by 2:00 p.m.

Topics and issues that will be covered in the talks will range from the ever-changing and resilient environment in which Nevada, and we, as a society, find ourselves, from impacts of COVID-19 to civil unrest.

TEDxReno first started in 2013 and ran for two years. TEDxUniversityofNevada licensee, Bret Simmons, wanted to bring more TEDx events to the Reno community and decided to reapply for the TEDxReno license for 2020’s virtual event, with a live event to follow in 2021.

“We are excited to bring TEDxReno back to our communities and believe the online event will be an enticing kick-off to the new and revived TEDxReno event,” said Simmons. “The event will re-engage people who love the TED concept and the topics that TED embraces, and we hope that all will be able to join us for this free online event. You will walk away empowered, refreshed and inspired.”

Speakers confirmed to date are: Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, Kaya Stanley, entrepreneur/ co-owner of Old Granite Street and community philanthropist, Danny DeLaRosa, chief development officer of Greater Nevada Credit Union, Emily Jaenson, general manager of the Reno Aces, Christine Zack of Capability Health, and Trudy Larson, MD, infectious disease specialist and Dean of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Community Health Sciences.

About TEDx:

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. 

About TED:

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, often in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED conferences, including an annual gathering in Vancouver, as well as TEDWomen, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world.




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties


The History of Reno’s Own Coney Island

A lot of people know the Coney Island Bar, located on Prater & Galetti, as a place where deals are done in the Truckee Meadows.

The bar is a landmark and a great spot to get a good meal and a picon, a traditional Basque cocktail.

From their website, I found this history lesson:

Ralph Galletti, an immigrant from Genoa (a province in northern Italy), opened a wholesale tamale factory in 1927 and sold his famous tamales to many local restaurants. In 1935, Ralph built the current brick building to house the tamale factory as well as a bar. He called it the Coney Island, the name of the former amusement park across the street from his new building. Upon his return from service in World War II, Ralph’s son John expanded the business to include a dining room for lunch and private banquets. It quickly became known as a place to find good food and old friends, and developed into a popular local hangout. John’s son Greg now runs the business, continuing the family tradition with his children.

A lot of Renoites know about the Coney Island Bar, but do not know about its namesake. Jody Rice put together a great story for This is Reno and I wanted to share some of what she found.

Two longtime Reno staples call East Fourth Street in downtown Reno home, a place that is normally avoided by citizens except for a dreaded trip to the DMV. These staples include Casale’s Halfway Club and the Coney Island Bar.


Stepping back more than 100 years in history, the Coney Island Amusement Park opened in the Truckee Meadows in July 1909. This amusement park boasted a lake big enough to have an island as well as row- and ferry-boats. Looking at that area today, this seems hard to believe but there it was.


According to a 1909 advertisement “the lake and grounds are gorgeously illuminated” and the management was drilling for hot mineral water in order to construct “one of the finest natatoriums”. A natatorium is simply a building containing a swimming pool.


The park was along the old Highway 40 before a road existed there, sandwiched between the “Biggest Little City” and the “Rail City”. All that remains today is the Nevada Historical Marker and Coney Island Bar, which opened in the late 1930s. Visitors could visit Coney Island Amusement Park free of charge to enjoy trees, the lake, pavilions, fireworks, music and dancing, and did so until the park closed in 1912.

Learn more about this park’s origins and its German founder, Otto G. Benscheutz, by reading more of Jody’s store. Reno’s history is a rich one!

All images courtesy of the Reno Historical Society.




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

Artown Becomes “Heartown” with Virtual Summer Activities

There are so many fantastic events unique to Reno-Sparks and one of the most beloved is Artown.

For the entire month of July, Reno becomes Artown! There are musical performances, live paintings, dancing shows, interactive, and more. July transforms the city into a celebration of local community with a deep appreciation for the arts and fun for all ages.

Many beloved and longtime events in Northern Nevada have been canceled this year to help limit the spread of COVID-19, but not Artown! The 501(c)(3) non-profit is reorganizing its events to meet the safety guidelines set out by the State of Nevada’s reopening plan. The annual city-wide event has taken place every July since the mid-90’s and for its 25th year they will be moving to a virtual platform.

This summer’s Artown will host 300 events planned by 127 artists, including webinars, livestreams, virtual tours, and scaled-back gatherings. Some of the regular events will have to be postponed because they gather such large crowds and won’t comply with state regulations, but all participating artists have until June 30 to modify their plans.

“I think the arts have been hit hard,” Artown’s marketing director, Oliver X said. “Their display venues, exhibits, and galleries have closed. So, those sources of revenue are limited… and that has definitely affected their ability to earn their pay, and their craft in public. That’s been severe for some, for sure. Artists oftentimes live check-to-check like everybody else.”

Adapting to the changes for this year, Artown is rolling out a new campaign called “Heartown” where they ask community members to make their own art at home. Whether it’s a craft with a family member or something you do on your own, it could be signage, decorative garden signs, expressions of inspiration, sidewalk chalk, or some other ornamental display in support. Artists will also have the ability to perform in real time during livestream events. International and national performers can even submit videos to be shown during the virtual Opening Night on July 1.

Some of the regular events that are still scheduled include the Reno Chalk Art & Music Festival at the Atlantis, Day of Visual Arts Weekend, and the Midtown Burning Man Parade. Artown is also distributing art supplies to children’s programs, nonprofits and family-oriented organizations like Eddy House, Our Center, and the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. Their goal is to hit different organizations to include every corner of the community.

Don’t miss out on some of these great events this year!




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

How Does Northern Nevada Plan to Bounce Back?

Lives of Northern Nevadans have been changed in a big way, and the effects have all but slammed the brakes on it’s fast-growing economy. Back in late January, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) hosted their annual State of the Economy. In the address, the Reno-Sparks area received accolades for its jump in job creation, drop in unemployment rate, and overall economic growth. I attended this event, along with more than 1,000 others from our business community.

Mike Kazmierski, EDAWN president, joined a virtual panel of experts on April 3 with Northern Nevada Business Weekly to discuss the region’s path to economic recovery with an emphasis on a better-educated workforce. He advocated that schools statewide should be teaching classes like coding and robotics, which are skills that will be needed in the future.

“That will make it easier to attract the next generation of jobs and grow the next generation of jobs through our entrepreneurial activity,” he said.

“This crisis will probably accelerate our transition into the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he explained. “Automation and AI is going to be accelerated, which requires a better-educated workforce at a time when our state is going to take huge budget hits in the next couple years. That will impact their ability to properly fund education, which is already improperly funded.”

How much does Nevada spend now on education funding? The state spends about $9,200 per student and ranked 48th out of 49 states in school financing according to Education Week’s 2019 Quality Counts report. Wyoming, for example, spends $18,090 per student which is nearly double what Nevada pays. Our state also ranks second-to-last in public education overall.

Nevada had the nation’s oldest school funding formula until last summer, when Governor Sisolak signed a new school funding formula into law. The state has also turned funds from marijuana sales tax from a rainy day fund into an education fund instead. This has generated an estimated $119.9 million is additional school funding to be used over the next two years.

“We’re giving 30% of our budget, in theory, to education. The reality is, we’re still at the bottom of the heap when it comes to national funding,” Kazmierski said April 3, adding that education lobbyists and parents need to make their voices heard loud and clear by elected officials. “We’re moving in the wrong direction, so at some point we need to get together as a state and say education is our top priority. I think it really is something that will benefit not just the here and now, but our economy in the long-term.”

However, now that we are in present day’s circumstance it remains to be seen how the COVID-19 crisis will impact future funding. Shortly after the April 3 panel, Sisolak then issued an order to state agencies and others who benefit of state funding to be ready for budget cuts as a result of reduced tax collections caused by coronavirus-related business closures.

The order stated that agencies should identify a 4% cut for this fiscal year and a 6% for next fiscal year, but there could be two additional 4% reductions in 2021 if the situation gets worse.

Along with Mike Kazmierski, the panel was joined by Patricia Herzog, director of the rural economic and community development for GOED; Jeff Brigger, director of business development at NV Energy; and Tom Harris, director of the university center for economic development at the University of Nevada, Reno. Together they discussed retraining the workforce, linkages between rural and urban areas, and more. Click here for the full article.




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

Virginia Street Project Could Finish Sooner Amidst Midtown Closures

You may have gathered that my favorite place to hang out is in midtown. Prior to the lockdown and in the midst of the Virginia Street tune up I never missed a day of going to midtown. Whether it was for coffee, a cold beer, lunch or shopping I never let the weaving in and out of traffic cones and taking side streets and alleyways deter me. It’s so special there because of that small cozy vibe you get from all the establishments. The midtown kindness is infectious. Looks like the completion of Virginia Street will happen sooner than later. Excellent!

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County and Sierra Nevada Construction announced in mid-March that the recent business closures have allowed them to accelerate construction operations on the $87 million Virginia Street project taking place in midtown Reno.


The RTC made the decision after consulting with local businesses in the Midtown area who have already expressed support to expedite the construction project. Doing the extra work while most businesses are closed will result in less impact when the businesses are open again.

“This is great news for all Midtown businesses,” Rum Sugar Lime business owner Larry DeVincenzi said in a provided statement. “The RTC and SNC reached out to us, they listened, and we support their plan to expedite the project. This project is going to be great when it’s done.”

As of March 21, crews closed Virginia Street to through traffic from Mary and Center Streets to Mt. Rose Street. The 24-hour closure is in effect until at least April 30, when the Governor’s mandate may end and businesses can once again open.

From Liberty to Center Streets, traffic will continue to be one-way southbound. According to the RTC, the accelerated work will definitely result in early completion of the current section of work. This could also lead to an earlier completion date for the overall project down the line. According to previous projections, the entire Virginia Street project is expected to be complete by November of 2020 (weather permitting).

The photo above was taken on April 4 and depicts the construction at Mary and Center Streets with the new roundabout addition. As you can see from the photo (if you haven’t been in person), the entirety of Virginia Street is shut down just past it. Rum Sugar Lime is located in this section, as well as many other popular shops, restaurants and bars. You can still park on Holcomb Ave. and any of the other streets that run parallel to Virginia. Mind the signs though, there are a few tricky one way streets that may sneak up on you!

To learn more about the Virginia Street Project, visit the RTC website here.




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

Reno’s Economy 4th in the Nation

This is Reno has put out another great article about the boom of Reno’s economy.

The Biggest Little City has once again proved itself to be one of the economically best-performing cities in the United States, and it continues to rise. Reno has ranked fourth in the nation in economic performance among 200 large metropolitan areas according to an analysis by the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics, a think tank headquartered in Los Angeles. In last year’s study of Best-Performing Cities, Reno ranked 11th place.

This rise in rank has been deemed especially noteworthy because it’s an indication that non-traditional tech and employment centers are rising into prominence in the U.S. economy according to Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute. The rapidly growing tech sector in Reno is diverse in that it ranges from Tesla’s Gigafactory to a cluster of data centers to a thriving logistics  and drone sector. These new jobs are diversifying the economy away from its original domination from distribution and tourism.

The research institute also noted that home prices in the Reno-Sparks region remain rather high in comparison to average wages, making Reno one of the least-affordable places in the country. This added factor will poses a threat to both the retention of workers and future economic growth. These annual rankings that the Milken Institute uses are based on job growth, wage growth, and measurements of innovation-industry metrics.

Results from the Milken Institute studies are used to help investors and policymakers understand what parts of the nation are booming and why. The newest study also found that the San Francisco region has the strongest economy in the nation, followed by Provo, Utah, and the Austin-Round Rock region of Texas. In addition to Reno, other strong-performing mid-sized cities include Boise and Melbourne, Florida.




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

A True Chocolatier! Send Some Sugar Love

Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? One of my all-time favorite local shops in Reno is Sugar Love Chocolates.

For years, I have been giving her chocolates away to my clients from Renown. Folks come in to see me for a tour of Reno and they get a bag of information, an early Reno book, and a box of her delectable chocolates. I always get feedback on how good they taste!


Founder and chocolatier, Krysta Bea Jackson, grew up around great food in her mother’s restaurant. She learned that food is a fast way to people’s hearts and the perfect way to spread joy in everyday life. She started the chocolate shop in February 2015 and has been going strong ever since. I have been a fan of hers since the very beginning!

Krysta creates interesting flavors with real ingredients that taste fantastic. Some flavors may only be in store for one batch or they may only be released at certain times of the year. She holds the proud title of first-ever chocolatier of Artown in 2017. By collaborating with foodies and artists, she’s able to passionately produce a fine product. For example, the raw berries come from California and Michigan, she incorporates fresh herbs and specialty ingredients from all over the world.

They also do fun events like cocktail and chocolate tastings/pairings, classes to make your own sweet creations, more!

Sugar Love Chocolates is located in the Basement in downtown Reno. You can even smell the enticing chocolate from down the hall as you get closer to her store. Valentine’s Day may be over, but something sweet never really goes out of style.




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

Toll Brothers’ National Sales Event: Step Into Luxury


Toll Brothers is the nation’s leading builder of luxury homes and it has just kicked off its National Sales Event.

What is the National Sales Event and why do we care about it? For those who have been wanting a new home for the new year (or just in general) there is no better time than during this event for buyers to get the best possible value.

Toll Brothers’ has won countless awards and even has an in-house architectural design team that has developed floor plan layouts and options for buyers. The many different options truly allow you to make your new home your own. Because of the partnerships that TB has with leading brands like Kohler, Whirlpool, Shaw, DalTile, and more, buyers will be able to have select savings on a long list of products.

How can you get involved in this sales event? I can help! Limited-time incentives vary among communities and they will likely have a package of savings created specifically for this event.

Contact me via the form below and let me know which communities you are interested in. Deposits will need to be made by February 17 to take advantage of this amazing opportunity:



More About Toll Brothers:

Toll Brothers, an award-winning FORTUNE 500 company founded in 1967, embraces an unwavering commitment to quality and customer service. Toll Brothers is currently operating in 23 states nationwide and is a publicly owned company.

Toll Brothers builds an array of luxury residential single-family detached, attached home, master planned resort-style golf, and urban low-, mid-, and high-rise communities, principally on land it develops and improves. The Company acquires and develops rental apartment and commercial properties through Toll Brothers Apartment Living, Toll Brothers Campus Living, and the affiliated Toll Brothers Realty Trust, and develops urban low-, mid-, and high-rise for-sale condominiums through Toll Brothers City Living. The Company operates its own architectural, engineering, mortgage, title, land development and land sale, golf course development and management, and landscape subsidiaries.

Toll Brothers also operates its own security company, TBI Smart Home Solutions, which also provides homeowners with home automation and technology options. The Company also operates its own lumber distribution, house component assembly, and manufacturing operations. Through its Gibraltar Real Estate Capital joint venture, the Company provides builders and developers with land banking, non-recourse debt and equity capital.

For five years in a row, Toll Brothers has been ranked the #1 Home Builder Worldwide on the FORTUNE Magazine “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list.* Toll Brothers has won numerous other awards, including Builder of the Year from both Professional Builder magazine and BUILDER magazine, the first two-time recipient from Builder magazine. For more information, visit

Images provided courtesy of Toll Brothers




Realtor® Sierra Nevada Properties

Blog at

Up ↑