The Lear Theater in downtown Reno is getting a lot of attention this month, as organizers of TEDx Reno prepare to host a one-day event there; it’s the first event at the Lear Theater in more than 12 years. The 75-year-old building will host a local "Technology, Entertainment and Design" or TED event on June 6th.

Doug Erwin of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) says it’s the perfect place to hold a TED event. "TED is all about 'ideas worth sharing' and for TEDx Reno, our big idea is the re-launch of the Lear Theater in the community," he said. The X in TEDx stands for an independently hosted TED event.

TED talks feature speakers who share ideas on everything from science to business, to local issues. For years the fate of the historic building was uncertain. Two years ago Artown took over the Lear Theater, and now the community is coming together to figure out creative ways to use it. Meghan Pescio, who is organizing TEDx Reno, says the event is a good fit for the Lear. "Our goal as TEDx Reno was to bring the big idea of TED to something that is tangible in Reno, and to help the community re-imagine what the Lear Theater would be like if it was a functioning, open theater for local performers and for the community," she explained.

What is now the Lear Theater was built in 1939 as a church. Fundraising efforts have provided money to build a stage and complete some renovations, but it has a long way to go to open to the public. This month volunteers are making repairs and have replaced some of the old seats and pews in advance of the TED event.

To get permits from the City of Reno for the event on June 6th, organizers say they're treating the old building like a type of "special events tent."We have to bring in power, we have to bring in executive toilets, we have to bring in water. We have to bring in air conditioning. Everything has to be brought in," Erwin said.

The ultimate goal is to make the Lear a part of Reno’s future, as well as its past.

"I think this is a really important piece of history and it's strategically located. To me it's about the revitalization of downtown," Erwin said.

To learn more about the TEDx Reno event on June 6th, go to

Written by Jennifer Burton