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Over the last few years, there has been an effort to revitalize downtown, and most would say you can’t do that without a vibrant and thriving arts scene.
A part of that revitalization effort has been the work of Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com, who has poured millions into the downtown district, and is often heard talking about the culture of downtown and at Zappos.
There’s even an art gallery at Zappos that people can tour.
Paco Alvarez is the curator for Zappos. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that art fits in with the company's emphasis on creativity.
“Zappos is a very creative environment," he said, "The more creative our employees can be the better.”
He said there is no real dress codes or rules for what can go on the walls and cubicles, which is all part of the effort to make a creative working environment.
“We want people to come to work and create an environment that they are pleased to come to,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said he gets approached all the time by employees asking for art supplies to draw and paint on the walls at the online retailer's headquarters.
Last month, the art gallery at Zappos welcomed Australian artist Laurens Tan, as well as several other local artists for a Chinese New Year Celebration and art exhibition.
Tan’s work combines sculpture and architect for 3D concepts, and his work can currently be seen at the gallery.
"All three works are part of a series called 'The Depth of Ease,'" he explained, "All three of them are observations and analysis of Beijing as an urban changing entity. Both in terms of the nationalistic sense of the Chinese, how they see themselves, but also it expresses some of the tensions and conflicts in their progress forward."
Tan said he first came to Las Vegas years ago and instantly fell in love with the city.
He said at one time there was nothing like in the world. Now, however there are some cities mimicking our city's visual trademarks.
Tan was saddened to see some good galleries, big and small, close in Southern Nevada. He thinks our city has the potential to have a much larger art scene that is supported by locals and tourists.
“In any culture, art represents what we are," Tan said, "What we think about our era. What changes are happening. I don’t think Vegas has enough representation by artists in that regard.”
Alvarez agreed and said Las Vegas needs to tell the world about our artists and culture. He believes it should be part of the appeal of coming to visit.
"We need to start telling the world that there is art and culture in our community," he said, "And people are coming to this city and exploring more and more. They're looking for the soul of the city and the soul just happens to be downtown."
Laurens Tan, artist; Paco Alvarez, curator, Zappos
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