Interview: Creativity, Culture Crucial For Innovating Reno

Feb 9, 2016

Credit Alexa Ard

We recently covered Directions 2016, an economics conference in Reno. Unlike in the past, this year’s conference included what's called a cultural forecast.  While other speakers focused on economic trends, Colin Robertson, curator of education for the Nevada Museum of Art, looked closely at the impact art could have on Nevada’s economy. To learn more, our reporter Rocio Hernandez sat down with him.

Colin Robertson is the curator of education for the Nevada Museum of Art.

Robertson is a proponent of STEAM education, a learning model that adds art to traditional science, technology, engineering and math programs. He said embracing more arts education will lead to innovative thinking, something the region needs more of. As an example, Robertson referenced the Washoe County School District’s overcrowding crisis.

“One of the creative solutions that we need is imagining new possibilities, new ideas for how to build this infrastructure that we are desperately in need of,” Colin said.

With companies such as Tesla and Switch establishing themselves in Northern Nevada, Robertson said the community as a whole has the responsibility to match the innovations that those companies are bringing into the region.

“Economic development and creative capital have to be invested in an equivalent way,” said Roberson, “because we’ll get all of these 50,000-plus people coming to Reno for amazing economic opportunities, but what they will stay for are the cultural and creative elements in our community that makes them want to be here for many years to come.”

Robertson and his wife are raising three kids, and he wants to see Reno realize its full potential for their sake and for future generations.