Jones, longtime campus arts figure and co-founder of Artown, passes away

Tim Jones served as director of University Arts for a decade

Jones, longtime campus arts figure and co-founder of Artown, passes away

Tim Jones served as director of University Arts for a decade

Tim Jones, whose long and versatile career at the University included his co-founding of Artown, an immensely successful month-long community celebration of the arts, passed away on Monday, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported. He was 66.

Jones reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack.

Jones served in a variety of capacities at the University, including director of University Arts and KUNR station manager.

In May, Jones was presented with the W. Clark Santini Award, which honors a person who, through oral communication, has brought significant benefits to the community as a whole.

In a Nevada Today story detailing the honor, Susan Boskoff, executive director of the Nevada Arts Council, said, "Tim Jones has, for 30 years, been a dedicated advocate for the creative process and the role of arts in education and economic development. The success of his advocacy is based in persuasive communication, and a commitment to continuity and follow-through. Whether speaking to the merits of a program or a policy to a decision-making body of elected officials, discussing a vision for the future with a group of high school students or on a national platform, or acting as a master of ceremonies for a local event, Tim is articulate, engaging and truthful."

Possessing a memorable and distinguished-sounding voice that somehow managed to sound formal yet highly inviting and warm, Jones was credited with helping Public Radio gain a lasting foothold in the Truckee Meadows in the early 1980s. He was director of University Arts from 1994-2004 and also played a key role in building the foundation for today's School of the Arts in the College of Liberal Arts, serving as the School's associate director.

He also served as acting director of Alumni Relations during his career at the University, which spanned nearly two decades.

Artown was founded 20 years ago by Jones, Karen Craig, Mark Curtis and University Art Professor Howard Rosenberg. Originally tabbed "Uptown Downtown Artown," the arts and culture celebration was envisioned as a way, among other things, to connect the University with downtown.

In the 20 years since, Artown has become one of the country's largest and most successful arts celebrations, anchoring each July with dozens of arts and cultural events and branching out to include special events throughout the rest of the calendar year. According to the Gazette-Journal, several Jones-led programs at Artown continue to this day, including Discover The Arts, Beethoven at Bartley and Movies in the Park.

"He really was a profound and passionate person for the arts, and he will be missed forever," Artown Executive Director Beth Macmillan told the Gazette-Journal. "He gave and gave and gave. He never tried to take back, he just gave."

Jones was appointed by Gov. Kenny Guinn to the Nevada Council for the Arts, serving from 2001 to 2013, including serving as board chairman. In 2010, Jones was awarded the Annual Arts Advocacy Award from the National Association of Counties' Arts and Culture Commission. The award honors a person who has significantly advanced the arts through advocacy efforts.

At the time, Jay Dick, director of state and local government affairs for Americans for the Arts, said of Jones, "I have known Tim for several years and could think of no one more deserving to receive this award. Tim has worked tirelessly and modestly to advance the arts during his years as a board member and chair for the Nevada Arts council."

During a 2010 Town Hall Meeting in Reno, Jones did just that, imploring the Nevada Legislature to halt additional arts cuts, noting that, "... reducing the budget of the Nevada Arts Council any more - now a mere three cents for every hundred dollars spent - won't help fill the holes we all are desperate to fill, but it will destroy the work of thousands since the agency's inception in 1967, and deny Nevada a chance to use creativity as a road to recovery."

Jones was also author of the 2006 book, "The Work of Art: Creativity and the Work Ethic."

According to the Gazette-Journal, Jones is survived by son Jeff, daughter Sheree, and three grandchildren. Memorial information is pending.

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