Riverside’s Shorter “Night of Art & Innovation” Returns with Just as Much Vigor

Published: 10/04/22


A young science enthusiast enjoying “Night of Art & Innovation.” Courtesy Night of Art & Innovation

After a pandemic pause, the City of Riverside’s sixth semi-annual “Night of Art & Innovation” returns on Oct. 13 to Main Street with a brand-new name. Organizers dropped “Long” from the title because rather than extending from 5 p.m. to midnight, the free event for young people and adults will end at 10 p.m. 

The abbreviated timeframe takes nothing away from this year’s showcase of local universities, high-tech businesses, performing arts, and more, in numerous venues spanning Riverside City Hall to 6th Avenue. All displays, demonstrations, and presentations are designed to entertain the community and celebrate the region’s “best of” arts and sciences. 

“The event brings together Riverside’s most creative minds for a night of joy in learning and discovery,” Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said. “Being able to support the arts and sciences is extremely important to us, and we are thrilled to return with another large-scale, interactive innovation showcase in the heart of the City.”

Arts and crafts at “Night of Art & Innovation.” Courtesy Night of Art & Innovation

The first incarnation of “Night of Art & Innovation” took place in 2012, inspired by a similar event in Erlangen, Germany, one of Riverside’s sister cities. The showcase began more lecture-based in those early years, said event coordinator Salynn Simon, who loves that it has evolved to truly reflect the community. 

“Riversiders love learning as they go rather than being relegated to a classroom,” said Simon, a Riverside native, and Notre Dame High School graduate. 

Simon explained how a stroll down Main Street during “Night of Art & Innovation” might take attendees past hissing cockroaches and spiders at the University of California, Riverside, entomology exhibit. Then on to a theater production to learn about performance makeup, followed by a staged crime scene with criminology experts demonstrating how to study blood splatter or observing the moon through a Cal State San Bernardino Astronomy Department telescope. 

“I love the organic, scattered nature of the event,” Simon said. “It’s so beautiful to experience the region’s talent and excellence all at once.” 

A member of the Riverside Police Department plays with a robot at “Night of Art & Innovation.” Courtesy Night of Art & Innovation

The “Night of Art & Innovation” also plays a crucial role in encouraging people to seek careers in the arts and sciences. Simon said she gets excited for students and adults to hear real-life stories of local professionals who enjoy success in fields that might not seem typical such as civil engineering, robotics or food sustainability. 

“I love watching children, young adults, and college students get inspired, or a 40-year-old who realizes they chose the wrong career and can change course right here in our own backyard,” Simon said. 

In addition to the City of Riverside, nearly 200 organizations are taking part in this year’s event including UCR, California Baptist University, La Sierra University, Riverside City College, Riverside Unified School District, Bourns, Inc., Riverside Public Utilities, Globe Biomedical, and Riverside Arts Academy. 

This year’s competitions include a coloring contest, middle and high school art, and math problems. Winners and their teachers will receive prizes such as a tablet, an Amazon gift card and artwork displayed at the Riverside Art Museum. 

For more information about Night of Art & Innovation, go to www.longnightriverside.com.

Insect petting zoo at “Night of Art & Innovation.” Courtesy Night of Art & Innovation