University leaders garner three nominations in EDAWN arts awards

Luncheon recognized contribution of those who support Reno-Sparks arts and culture community

Jason Altieri, director of orchestras; University President Marc Johson and his wife Karen Penner-Johnson; and Larry Engstrom, associate chair of the Department of Music, were nominated in the 2018 EDAWN Arts & Business Luncheon and Awards.


9/18/2018 | By: Yun Ku |

Several members of the University of Nevada, Reno community were nominated for the third-annual EDAWN Arts & Business Luncheon and Awards held at the Eldorado Resort Casino on Sept. 13.

University President Marc Johnson and his wife Karen Penner-Johnson were nominated for the Leadership category. The couple are patrons to several arts and culture organizations in northern Nevada, including the serving on the Reno Chamber Orchestra Board. They have been instrumental in the construction of the new University Arts Building with significant fundraising and supporting the efforts of the University's School of the Arts expanded programs.

Jason Altieri, director of orchestras, was nominated for the Arts Education category. In addition to being the director of the University Symphony Orchestra, he is the conductor of the Reno Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra. From middle school to college, Altieri has helped train the next generation of professional musicians.

Larry Engstrom, associate chair of the music department, was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award. For more than 30 years, Engstrom has contributed to the growth of arts at the University and the northern Nevada community. As a professional trumpeter, he has earned local and national recognition for his repertoire in jazz, as well as training new talent in the field. Engstrom has also served as director of the School of the Arts for much of its existence and continues to head the committee for the new University Arts Building.

Related Academic Program

These awards were held in partnership with the City of Reno, City of Sparks, Sierra Arts Foundation, the University's College of Liberal Arts and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) to celebrate businesses and individuals who have demonstrated exceptional support and engagement with the local arts and culture community. More than 45 nominations were submitted, according to EDAWN.

The winners of the Arts & Business Awards were:

  • Artown - Microenterprise Company Award (six or fewer employees)
  • Living Stones - Small Company Award (seven-49 employees)
  • Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority - Medium Company Award (50-299 employees)
  • NV Energy - Large Company Award (300+ employees)
  • Christine Kelly, Sundance Books and Music - Leadership Award
  • William C. Thornton, Thornton Enterprises - Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts - Excellence in Arts Business Management Award
  • Jen Johanson, Kendyl Depoali Middle School - Arts Education Award
  • Tilio Lagatta, Blackfire Real Estate Investors - Developer Award
  • Rotary Club of Reno - Service Club Award


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