Las Vegas’ women gallerists lead an arts scene surge
If there’s a local arena in which women have long helped lead the charge, it’s the arts. Fifteen years ago, three women — artist-writer-restaurateur Julie Brewer, attorney-gallerist Naomi Erin, and shop owner-curator Cindy Funkhouser — began our longest-standing monthly arts festival, First Friday. Tarissa Tiberti parlayed her success at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art to a position as executive director of MGM Resorts Art & Culture, the corporation’s multifaceted arts initiative. In off-the-beaten-path North Las Vegas, Vicki Richardson’s Left of Center Gallery is the archetype for the sort of community-minded arts center in which the hard work of creation, curation, and education happens daily. With a roster of diverse shows, a permanent African-art collection, and a weekly open house on Saturdays, this is a place to experience art, learn about art, and create art. A working artist, Priscilla Fowler also runs her eponymous gallery in Art Square. And add to the list last year’s appointment of Ally Haynes-Hamblen to head the City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs, and new Clark County Parks and Recreation Cultural Supervisor for Public Art Mickey Sprott, and it seems the local arts are built on feminine ingenuity.
The latest: Artist and CORE Contemporary owner Nancy Good came to Las Vegas in 2001 as a musician, but these days she’s focused on the visual arts with her new exhibition space, working studio, and community meeting place, just opened in May. Good’s own work is a conscious nod to her Burning Man adventures, and relationships from the playa have influenced her undertaking at CORE Contemporary, she says. Inspired by participating in fellow Burner and curator Laura Henkel’s annual 12 Inches of Sin arts festival in the world’s most interesting center-city strip mall — New Orleans
Square in Commercial Center — Good built out a permanent space on the light-and-bright second floor, just in time to host this year’s 12 Inches juried group exhibit.
“It’s so exciting to see how Laura brings together the community, and I knew that if I created a space here, she would definitely have a place in it,” Good says. With two shows to be curated by Henkel on the schedule for later this year, the women’s communal spirit is genuine.
Artist Anna Olga Aristova, founder of The One House and Artshop Company (pictured right), came to Las Vegas from Moscow with an ambition to start an affordable arts movement. Formerly a marketing and branding consultant for everything from fashion labels to political candidates, Aristova believes in the power of accessibility. In The One House, at the corner of Charleston and Main streets, she and partners plan to curate a progressive program of exhibiting artists, experiential installations, and creative events aimed at raising awareness for the Arts District. At Artshop Company, look for her futuristic approach to large-format art printed on pliable fabric with price points that support artists while spurring patronage.
“There are so many amazing artists already here in Las Vegas, but they don’t always connect with the greater international community,” Aristova says. “With this space and my online presence, social-media initiatives, my marketing, and branding experience, I want to introduce them to the world.”
It might sound like a tall order from the lobby of a complex that is still building out exhibition spaces, but if there’s anything to be learned from the women arts advocates of Las Vegas, it’s that they can get things done.
900 Karen Ave. # D222
The One House/Artshop Company
1 W. Charleston Blvd.