Desert Companion

Community: Camille Duskin creates a Gateway forthe arts

A creative path

Camille Duskin and her husband just wanted to clean up the neighborhood. The owners of an apartment building in Naked City — the area near the Stratosphere with a rep as a crime-ridden neighborhood — Duskin and her husband were tired of that tell-tale eyesore of the inner city: graffiti.

“The backs of the buildings were a constant problem with tagging and gang graffiti,” she says. She hired a muralist to cover the mess, but Duskin got so inspired that she ended up painting the town, so to speak. Soon, Duskin was leading an effort to beautify the neighborhood with donated paint and paid local muralists. “We’ve always been proud to always hire Las Vegas muralists, but the program has become so popular, artists from out of town have even offered to paint.” But Duskin insists on using local talent.

That 2007 program was the kernel of the Gateway Arts Foundation. Today, the Gateway Arts Foundation does so much more, awarding scholarships to young musicians, actors and painters across Southern Nevada. The foundation also has Hattie’s House. That’s Duskin’s late mother’s house in Peccole Ranch, which Duskin turned into a space where student musicians can perform recitals free of charge.

“Camille is an angel,” says Norman Vito, a pianist and piano teacher who has performed benefit concerts for the foundation. “Art is one of the most important parts of a civilized society, and it’s especially important in bringing up our children.” Info: gatewayartsfoundation.org

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