Artown makes extra effort to snare corporate sponsors |

Artown makes extra effort to snare corporate sponsors

NNBW Staff

The languishing economy made it more difficult for Artown to snare underwriters to help cover its million-dollar budget this year.

To offset the expected slump in corporate giving, Artown for the first time created and sold season ticket packages.

And, says Annelise McKenzie, development and finance director, “I put more effort into writing grants.”

While that brought some new foundations on board, she says room remains on the roster and in the budget for companies to sponsor events.

Sponsorship levels include $25,000 festival sponsor, $7,500 event sponsor and a floor of $5,000.

U.S. Bank, one of eight festival sponsors, this year marks its 10th time on the Artown train. In return, its company logo is imprinted upon every promotional piece produced during Artown’s 31-day run.

“We take a lot of pride in supporting the communities in which we operate,” says Rob Humphreys, U.S. Bank’s Reno-based northern Nevada market president.

And while the company does a spreadsheet on tangible benefits it doesn’t disclose those figures.

“A festival sponsor will make well over double that fee in public impressions,” says McKenzie.

Northern Nevada Dairymen marks its eighth year as an event sponsor of a specific kids’ program, Discover the Arts.

“It’s important to give back to the community,” says Libby Lovig, vice president of the dairy council. “And we get name recognition. We get to put up banners reminding people to drink milk. Milk and kids go together.”

Countrywide Home Loans’ logo will also be seen at an Artown event, courtesy of Sue Barry, a vice president at the company’s Kietzke branch. It’s her fourth year personally sponsoring Missoula Children’s Theatre, which comes to Reno from Montana to produce a play starring local children.

Barry says she sponsors to give back to Missoula, her hometown. Her donation covers half the $10,000 fee needed to fund the troupe.

Reno Special Events Program Manager Cadence Matijevich says the price of gas has not caused a drop in the cavalcade of local festivals. Totaling 125 annually, 80 take place from June through September. Locals choosing to stay put might offset any drop in tourist trips, she says.

“We encourage people to take their vacation at home this year to save gas,” says McKenzie. At Artown they can attend, on average, seven free events a day during July. Some 65 percent of Artown events have free admission.