Arts mean business at Sierra Arts Foundation |

Arts mean business at Sierra Arts Foundation

Natasha Bourlin

A multitude of studies have found that the arts have dramatically positive effects on everything from children’s academic performance, to a community’s overall quality of life, health — and even its economy.

Since 1971, the Sierra Arts Foundation (SAF) has been the region’s only local arts organization with an emphasis on teaching, nurturing and supporting the arts in our community. Fostering creativity, wonder and critical thinking are a business for the registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which provides arts programming and exhibitions for schools, eldercare facilities and companies across northern Nevada.

Just as the arts inspire the many children and seniors that SAF works with, they can also have similarly positive effects on customers and employee morale. Art in the workplace has been shown to reduce stress plus increase creativity and productivity, and SAF makes it easy for business owners and executives to reap these rewards through their Galleries at Work program.

Galleries at Work unites the work of local artists with local organizations, accomplishing this by installing artwork in office spaces, banks and a variety of businesses large and small. Exhibitions curated by SAF can currently be found in NV Energy, Basin Street Properties and the Reno Aces’ home, Greater Nevada Field, among many other locales across the area.

The Sierra Arts team inspects the site, works with the company to find a fitting body of artistic work, transports and installs it, creates signage and rotates the exhibitions every six months so that new pieces are continually refreshing the environment. While there are minimal administrative fees associated with the Galleries at Work program, 50 percent of the costs to businesses are tax deductible.

As a membership-driven organization, SAF relies heavily on the support of both individuals and businesses to improve the lives of community members through the arts. Corporate sponsorships are available at a variety of levels, and can benefit both the generous business’s bottom line through the resulting tax benefits, as well as literally change people’s situations for the better through the programs they help provide.

For instance, at-risk children are given an opportunity to express themselves and truly shine — sometimes for the first time in their lives — through SAF’s Arts Alternatives program. Arts in Education, another program, puts professional, teaching artists into schools with limited or no funding to provide arts education to their students.

“Through Arts in Education and the process of creation, students can communicate their innermost feelings and emotions, their struggles and accomplishments, in ways they may not be able to otherwise,” states Sierra Arts Executive Director Annie Zucker. “Their artwork is a safe expression of their individuality, as well as their hopes and dreams.”

Music 1.2.1. offers affordable, professional and private in-school music lessons to students attending schools with downsized or eliminated music education programs … which also alleviates the costly inconvenience of scheduling and transportation for parents.

“I’ve seen how many students, parents and teachers this program affects firsthand, and it inspires me daily,” exudes Sierra Arts Music 1.2.1. Program Manager Steve Pfister. “It’s so gratifying to see these kids flourish when in the program!”

Thanks in part to the support of local businesses, elderly people residing in — and often confined to — area assisted living, skilled nursing and custodial nursing homes are uplifted by musicians who perform live classical, jazz, swing, big band, contemporary, bluegrass and traditional folk music for them with the ElderCare Concert Series.

People from all walks of life are impacted by the multitude of programs, these and more, that SAF provides to the region — but to do so, they need the financial support of surrounding businesses and community members.

Tax-deductible corporate sponsorships range from being a “Champion of the Arts” for $1,000, to providing a “Lifetime of Art,” a $50,000 investment that puts a teacher in a school, provides music lessons to a student, providing an artist with a grant to bring their artistic visions to fruition, sponsoring a gallery, then a musician for the ElderCare Concert Series.

Discounted family memberships for employees are also available, which allow them to take part in events at the Sierra Arts Gallery in downtown Reno, 10 percent off at Wild River Grille and even free or discounted entry to 662 participating museums across the country.

Visit or call 775-329-2787 to find out how to get involved in making northern Nevada a more inspiring, vibrant and artistic place for locals and visitors alike.