Karen Craig’s passion brings together government, business, and organizations to create thriving and sustainable communities. Karen has an award-winning record of transforming communities across the country. She has been honored as the Civic Leader of the Year, featured in the New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town,” and been called one of Nevada’s 20 Most Influential Leaders to Watch. She is a leading consultant and speaker on creative cities.
Karen was a founder of Reno’s Artown Festival. With Karen as executive director, Artown grew into one of America’s largest visual and performing arts festivals. The San Francisco Ballet, Kronos Quartet, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Femi Kuti made their Nevada debuts at Artown. Today 300,000 residents and visitors enjoy the festival annually. Artown is credited with helping to attract over $500 million of investment in downtown Reno.
In 1990, Karen became the executive director of The Telluride Institute, a Colorado think-tank. Karen helped implement cultural, environmental and technology initiatives developed by such visionaries as John Naisbitt (Megatrends), Amory & Hunter Lovins (energy & sustainability), John Cage (composer), Pamela and John Lifton-Zoline (founders/artist/architect).
Karen experienced the power of culture and community working for Harvey Lichtenstein at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in the 1980’s. She was the press attaché for New Music America, Next Wave Festival, and two cultural exchange programs touring the Soviet Union and Japan. Karen was also honored to serve as press assistant to Princess Diana during her first official visit to the United States in 1989.
Karen lives in Reno, NV where she, her husband Lindsay and son Jason are stewards of a Pony Express-era barn that is thriving again with orchards, gardens, bees, livestock and a resident family of great horn owls. Karen is a whitewater kayaker, fiber artist and most happy when observing the beauty of nature.