Background + Purpose

The City of Reno Arts & Culture Commission (RACC) acknowledges our country’s colonial establishment and its violent impact upon non-dominant communities within the state and the region. RACC values its ongoing commitment to cultural awareness, social responsibility, and measurable actions to support and benefit those who have been historically marginalized, muted, and underserved. The Equity Expansion Grant is RACC's next conscious step in aligning our public service to provide arts well-being thoughtfully and intentionally throughout the Reno community.


The Equity Expansion Grant is intended to provide programmatic funding to eligible organizations that provide arts, culture, and heritage services. The grant prioritizes organizations historically facing social, financial, and/or geographic barriers. The grant prioritizes projects and activities that are by and for American Indian and Alaska Native, Arab and Middle Eastern, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black and African American, Hispanic and Latinx, LGBTQIA+, disabled, youth, seniors, and access-challenged communities.

La subvención de expansión de equidad (Equity Expansion Grant) tiene como objetivo proporcionar financiación programática a organizaciones elegibles que brinden servicios de arte, cultura y patrimonio. La subvención prioriza a las organizaciones que históricamente han enfrentado barreras sociales, financieras y/o geográficas. La subvención prioriza proyectos y actividades realizados por y para personas indígenas y nativos de Alaska, árabes y del Medio Oriente, asiáticos e isleños del Pacífico, comunidades con orígenes africanos y afroamericanos, hispanos y latinos, LGBTQIA+, con capacidades especiales, jóvenes, adultos mayores y comunidades con desafíos de acceso. Si desea asistencia o más información en español, comuníquese con el personal al

Grant Amount

  • Up to $4,000

Applicant Eligibility

  • Applicants must be 501(c)3 organizations based in Reno.
  • This includes colleges, universities, public schools, libraries, and federally recognized tribes.
  • Organizations that do not have 501(c)3 status may use a fiscal sponsor.
  • The applicant organization must have at least one year of operating history in Reno.
  • Organizations cannot apply for multiple Arts & Culture Grants for the same project. Each application must be distinctly unique. For example, if you are applying for an Arts & Culture Project Grant, your application for an Equity Expansion Grant must be for a different project with no overlap.
  • City of Reno map

Funding may be used for:

  • Education Programming (including demonstrations, lectures, and workshops)
  • Entertainment Programming (including performances, events, festivals, and traditions)
  • Public Art Programming (including exhibitions, materials, and artist fees)

Funding may not be used for:

  • Hospitality Expenses (including food, beverages)
  • Operating Expenses (including staff salary, rent, office equipment, or repairs)
  • Competition Expenses (including scholarships, prizes, or grants)
  • Activities with implicit religious content


  • Programming must be advertised, free, and accessible to the public.
  • Programming must support and benefit under-served communities.
  • Programming must occur within the City of Reno between January 1, 2024 - December 31, 2024.
  • Applicants will be responsible for securing any appropriate public exhibition space and any permission or permits required regarding their proposal.


  • Applicants must submit applications via Submittable according to the following deadlines:                                        
    • Deadline to apply for programming taking place between January 1 - April 30, 2024 is November 30, 2023.
    • Deadline to apply for programming taking place between May 1 - August 30, 2024 is March 31, 2024.
    • Deadline to apply for programming taking place between September 1 - December 31, 2024 is July 30, 2024. 

     Please note, organizations are only eligible to receive one Equity Expansion Grant per calendar year. If you apply and are denied, you are able to apply for a future date.


  • Awardees will be required to submit a final report that includes a narrative of activities carried out, attendance/participation numbers, number of artists paid, and images of the activities carried out. The City of Reno also requires audience/participant surveys be completed. Survey questions will be provided by the City upon award of grants.

Questions: Anza Jarschke, Arts + Culture Program Assistant, / 775-689-8459

If you would like assistance in Spanish, please contact staff at*

*Si desea asistencia en español, comuníquese con el personal al

FY23/24 Special Event Sponsorship

The City of Reno Special Event Sponsorships are awarded to permitted events hosted in the City of Reno. The events may be anywhere within the Reno city limits. Sponsorships will be used to off-set City services billed in conjunction with the performance of the special event. 

A Special Event is any planned gathering of 75 or more persons which is to assemble or travel in an organized manner on any street, park or other public property; or,

Any planned activity conducted by a person for a common or collective use, purpose or benefit which directly or indirectly involves the use of, and has an impact on, city street(s), park(s), or other public property or facilities which reasonable requires city management, regulation, or resources to protect the health, safety, welfare, or property of the city or its residents, coordinate multiple used of public property, control traffic, or address other substancial governmental interests at or around the activity.

Examples of special events include, but are not limited to:

  • Parades;
  • Street fairs and festivals;
  • Live commercial music events;
  • Athletic or sporting events (e.g. races, runs);
  • Circuses or carnivals;
  • Community celebrations and observances;
  • Commercial shows, trade shows, and business promotions;
  • Commercial promotional or fund-raising activities.

  A competitive application will demonstrate economic, social, or cultural impact as well as a plan to reach in the following ways:

  • Engages participants through a variety of means
  • Event times, locations, facilities, and technology are accessible to the public
  • Collects participant feedback and uses the results to improve future special events
  • Demonstrates social, educational, cultural, and/or economic relevance for the community
  • Contributes to vibrant, creative neighborhoods


  • Event permitted July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024
  • Timely permit application (90 days prior to event), payment for Special Event fees charged by the City 
  • Held within City limits

Special Event Sponsorship applications will be evaluated based on the following:
   1.  The Event: All answers in this section address overall merit including overall benefit to the Community including tourism, open space activation, and cultural impact.
   2. The Community: Questions in this section describe the organization’s ability to engage the community effectively. Answers should include evidence that the organization understands the economic impact or community engagement.
   3. Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations: These questions will seek to learn your target audience, communication plans, and what resources will be dedicated to marketing and promoting your event.
   4. Financial: This section will address the specific budget for the event or project. Show realistic numbers for costs related to the event.

Committee discretion for allocation of up to $200,000 for events permitted in Reno. Limits per event will be set and determined by the Sponsorship Committee.

Sponsorship funds will not be dispersed until final billing for Special Events fees charged by the City is complete.


Sponsorship is eligible for events occurring between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024. Applications will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.


  If you need assistance, please reach out to the Events team at if you have any questions.
   *If you would like assistance in Spanish, please contact staff at Arie Zamorano - (775) 348-6907, or Luci Ramos - (775) 348-6904,
   *Si desea asistencia en español o para asistir a un taller de becas en español, comuníquese con el personal al Arie Zamorano - (775) 348-6907, o Luci Ramos - (775) 348-6904,

Art Vending Machine Program: The City of Reno is currently seeking makers to submit editions of small-scale objects to be sold out of a refurbished vending machine placed at City Hall, launching Fall 2023. The art vending machine will highlight local Reno makers and City of Reno swag.


Requirements of Candidates: To be considered, the maker must live and produce their work in the Truckee Meadows. This opportunity is open to artists and creators making small-scale objects. Once selected, the artist must provide proof of a Nevada State Business License, Sales Tax Permit, and Reno Business License. See below for more information.



  • Artists must apply through the open call and can submit up to three objects for consideration at a time.
  • All objects will be sold on commission. Artists choose their commission price, $1-40 in whole dollar amounts. Items will be sold for a few dollars more, to be decided by The City. 
  • The final price will include sales taxes, which will be collected by the City of Reno and paid to the state. Although The City will handle taxes, artists are responsible for having a current sales tax permit. Any profits will support the vending machine operations, maintenance, and staff support.
  • Selected object should be provided in a quantity of 6-12. Objects do not need to be exactly the same. A series can include different variations on the same type of object.
  • All items should clearly show what it is from the front view and come with branding/artist information (e.g., a business card, insert with information, etc.).
  • Objects will rotate every 3-6 months or once completely sold out. Unsold objects will be returned to the artist at the end of the rotation.


Merchandise Requirements:

Merchandise must fit within the following size limits. All sizes are listed as maximum Width x Height x Depth, in inches.

  • Small: 2 x 6 x .5
  • Medium: 5 x 5.5 x 1.5
  • Large: 5 x 7 x 1.5

Any loose objects will be packaged by Arts & Culture and need to fit into a plastic sleeve: 2 x 6 or 5 x 7; or a plastic box: 4.75 x 6 x 1. 

Objects must be able to drop without breaking.

We encourage a local/Reno focus to the content of objects, but this is not a requirement.

No perishable or food items.

See a list of possible merchandise ideas below.


Selection Process: From eligible submissions, objects will rotate first-come-first-priority based on variety and the spaces available in the vending machine. The City has the right to refuse any work that is deemed not appropriate for City support.

Previously featured artists are welcome to apply to future calls, knowing priority will be given to artists not yet featured. 


Application process: Please submit the following items as part of your application packet (images in JPG format):

  • Short description of the proposed object to be sold, including specific dimensions
  • Image of the proposed object
  • Confirming dimensions of the object fits within guidelines
  • Short artist bio and headshot for Arts & Culture website
  • Optional: State of Nevada Business License, Sales Tax Permit, and Reno Business License. These can be obtained after selection but must be provided before objects are placed in the vending machine.


Licensing and Permit Information: If you do not already have a current State of Nevada Business License, Sales Tax Permit, and Reno Business License, you will need to obtain these prior to your objects being sold. 

  • Register for Nevada State Business License or exemption (if eligible). You may register online at or in person at 202 North Carson Street, Carson City. This license starts at $200.
  • Register with Nevada Department of Taxation and obtain a Sales Tax Permit. You may register online at or in person at 4600 Kietzke Lane, Bldg L #235. This permit starts at $15.
  • Apply for a Reno Business License. The process and application options can be found on the City of Reno Business License page. Important to note: you will already need to have your State of Nevada Business License and Sale Tax Permit prior to applying. If you operate under a name different than your legal name, you will also need a “Doing Business As” (DBA) from the Washoe County Clerks' Office. This process can take up to four weeks. The Home-based License starts at $95.


Deadline: To be considered for the first round, please submit a completed application by 11:00 pm PT on November 30, 2023 via Submittable.

If you have any questions, please contact Anza Jarschke, Arts & Culture Program Assistant, at 775-689-8459 or


Merchandise Ideas:

Some possible merchandise objects may be, but are not limited to:

  • Stickers
  • Pins
  • Buttons
  • Magnets
  • Earrings / Jewelry
  • Shirts
  • Tote bags
  • Tea towels / Bandanas
  • Patches
  • Greeting cards / Postcards
  • Soap
  • Ornaments
  • Mini prints / Paintings
  • Zines
  • Small embroidery hoops
  • Action figures / Mini figures
  • Koozies
  • Keychains

Program Description:

The ReStore Facade and Tenant Improvement Program is designed to enhance the visual appeal, economic vitality, and overall livability of commercial areas of downtown. The program provides matching grants to both property owners and business tenants for facade improvements and interior upgrades.


Funding Limits:

The City of Reno will reimburse applicants for 50% of eligible costs up to maximum grant total of $50,000 for exterior facade improvement projects, and up to $50,000 for interior tenant improvement projects. Matching grants for facade and tenant improvements can be combined at select locations for up to $100,000 in reimbursement. 


Funding Guidelines:

1. The City will provide a matching grant of up to 50% of the total project costs, capped at $50,000, to be reimbursed after the completion of the improvements. 

2. Applicants must secure the remaining project funding from their own resources or other sources.

3. Grants will be awarded while funding is available on a first-come, first-served and competitive basis, taking into consideration the quality of the proposed improvements, exceptional design, impact on the streetscape, and potential economic benefits.

4. Applicants must agree to maintain the improvements for a minimum of five years from the date of completion.


Eligibility Criteria:

1. Property owners and business tenants located in commercial and mixed use districts and neighborhoods.

2. The property must be used for commercial use.

3. Applications must demonstrate a commitment to long-term occupancy and maintenance of the improved property.

4. First floor retail units must be usable for retail or restaurant uses at the completion of the project and shall be actively marketed for lease at reasonable lease rates for 5 years following the grant award. 

5. With the exception of eligible architectural or design fees accrued during the application process, any work performed or materials purchased prior to approval of the agreement will not be eligible for reimbursement under the program. 

6. A building permit shall be submitted within 90 days of the approved program agreement.  Work shall be complete within 180 days of an approved building permit, unless an alternative completion deadline is approved and incorporated into the final agreement. Extensions may be granted based on the discretion of the City. 

7. Any work intruding within the public right-of-way, such as  awnings, signage and building facades, will also require approval and additional permitting through the Public Works Department. 

8. Failure to complete the project within the time required will result in the agreement being terminated and reimbursement funding will not be provided. 


Application and Selection Process:

1. The City will announce a call for applications through its official website, local media, and community outreach channels. 

2. Interested property owners or business tenants must submit a completed application form, including project details, proposed budget, timeline, and any supporting documentation (e.g., sketches, renderings, historical preservation plans).

3. A selection committee will evaluate the applications based on criteria such as architectural compatibility, design quality, historical preservation, impact on the surrounding area, and potential economic benefits. All improvements must be in compliance with all zoning and building code requirements. 

4. Selected projects will enter into a grant agreement with the City, outlining the terms and conditions of the funding.

5. Selected projects will have up to 90 days to submit for a building permit and another 180 days to complete the work upon approval of a building permit.


Application Materials: 

  1. Complete Application form.
  2. Proof of parcel ownership and/or applicant (tenant) lease agreement.
  3. Signed letter acknowledging both property owner(s) and tenant agree to improvements. 
  4. Photos of current facade and interior (respective to each grant program). 
  5. Design drawings produced by a licensed architect or design professional showing complete renovation.
  6. Two bids or cost estimates if over $5,000. (Hard materials costs do not need to have multiple bids but must be itemized). 


Facade Improvement Program (FIP):

Program Objectives:

1. Enhance the visual quality and aesthetics of commercial properties in Reno.

2. Revitalize downtown as a unique cultural and retail hub. 

3. Reduce vacancies in downtown. 

4. Promote economic development and attract visitors and residents to downtown.

5. Preserve and restore historical features, where applicable.


Eligible Expenses:

1. Exterior facade painting and repairs.

2. Signage installation and upgrades.

3. Architectural enhancements, such as awnings, canopies, or decorative elements.

4. Windows and doors replacement or restoration.

5. Lighting improvements for safety and ambiance.

6. Landscaping enhancements within the facade area.

7. Accessibility upgrades to comply with ADA requirements.

8. Preservation and restoration of historical facade elements.

9. Other facade improvements that enhance the visual appeal and contribute to the vitality of the commercial area.

10. Architectural/design services and design. Not to exceed 10% of project costs. 


Tenant Improvement Program (TIP):

Program Objectives:

  1. To encourage activation of storefronts throughout the urban core with new businesses.  
  2. To incentivize private investment into the commercial units and expand the offerings of existing businesses. 
  3. Support business growth and economic vitality by providing financial assistance for interior improvements.
  4. Enhance the functionality, accessibility, and overall customer experience of commercial spaces.


Eligible Expenses:

1. Interior design and space planning.

2. Structural modifications, including walls, ceilings, and flooring.

3. Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC upgrades.

4. Lighting improvements for energy efficiency and ambiance.

5. Installation of fixtures, cabinetry, shelving, and displays.

6. Accessibility upgrades to comply with ADA requirements.

7. Soundproofing and insulation.

8. Safety and security enhancements.

9. Other interior improvements that contribute to the functionality, aesthetics, and customer experience.

** The City of Reno currently has a Brownfields Grant program that can be combined with the RE-Store program to cover the cost of Phase I & II Environmental Site Assessments and Hazardous Material Assessments for adaptive reuse projects within downtown. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


1. I am a tenant. Do I need the property owner's approval to apply for the program?

Yes, if you are a tenant applying for the program, you will need to provide a letter of approval from the property owner. The property owner's consent is necessary to ensure that both parties are aligned on the improvements being made to the property.


2. I am a property owner. Do I need to work with my tenant?

Yes, property owners are required to collaborate with their tenants and obtain their consent for the proposed improvements. This program encourages cooperation between property owners and tenants to enhance the storefronts and overall commercial spaces. Mutual agreement is an essential part of the application process.


3. This is ARPA funding. How much reporting and grant management am I required to do?

The reporting and grant management requirements for the program are designed to be straightforward. While specific details will be outlined in the grant agreement, participants are generally expected to provide project updates, documentation of expenses, and completion reports. The City of Reno aims to streamline the reporting process to minimize administrative burden.


4. Do I get to choose my design consultant and the contractor for construction?

Yes, you have the flexibility to choose your design consultant and contractor for the project. It's important to work with professionals who are experienced and capable of delivering the desired improvements. The design and contractor selection should align with the project's goals and meet all necessary permitting and code requirements.


5. Are the improvements required to meet prevailing wage?

No, the improvements under this program are not required to meet prevailing wage requirements. However, participants are encouraged to adhere to fair labor practices and work with reputable contractors.


6. How long will funds be available?

Funds for the ReStore Facade and Tenant Improvement Program will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability. It's recommended to submit your application promptly to secure your place in the program.


7. I have multiple storefronts. How many projects can I apply for?

Property owners with multiple storefronts are eligible to apply for a separate project for each storefront. Each project will be evaluated independently, and approval will be based on the merits of each application.


8. Will there be a legal agreement with the application?

Yes, if your project is selected for funding, a grant agreement will be established between the City of Reno and the grant recipient. This agreement will outline the terms, conditions, and responsibilities related to the funding, project implementation, reporting, and maintenance of improvements.

For any further questions or clarifications, please contact Bryan McArdle, Revitalization Manager, at

City of Reno