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History of the School

A student creates a sculpture

Fun Facts

  • The School of the Arts visual arts permanent collection houses over 1,000 works including contributions from prominent artists Craig Sheppard, Robert Caples, Maynard Dixon, Jim McCormick, Jeff Nicholson and Ted Waddell.
  • The Black Rock Press joined the School of the Arts in summer 2006. It is one of only a handful of traditional book arts presses in the world and has a national reputation for outstanding work, receiving several awards over the years for its unique publications.
  • The School of the Arts employs over 100 faculty and staff members and attracts over 75,000 visitors and community members annually to arts events, producing a substantial economic impact of more than $13 million per year in northern Nevada.
  • Gallery exhibits throughout northern Nevada regularly highlight the superb work of the University's young artists and faculty members.
  • The School of the Arts engages more than 25,000 children each year in concerts, workshops, presentations and exhibitions specifically tailored to their age levels.
  • The School's Reno Jazz Festival (one of the largest and most respected festivals of its kind in the world) and Performing Arts Series together bring more that 75 internationally acclaimed guest artists and educators to northern Nevada every year.


Few are now able to recall the earliest days of the arts on campus, when visual arts were taught in Quonset huts in a nearby neighborhood. Music belonged to the education department, and courses in speech and drama were occasionally taught within the English department. In 1955, the arts disciplines finally reached departmental status. In 1960, the new Church Fine Arts building provided the first unified physical space for students and faculty.

The Church Fine Arts Building was named after James Edward Church, professor of Latin, German, classical art and history at the University of Nevada from 1892-1959.  Dr. Church also founded what is now the Nevada Museum of Art.

An addition in the mid-1980s created more classroom space, a concert hall, a gallery exhibition area and a small theatre, enabling greater attendance and participation in the arts by members of the community. The initial and subsequent investments in arts facilities were prompted by an increased demand for arts education within a growing university and by dedicated supporters in the community.

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University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno
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Reno,  NV  89557-

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