As We See It

A bright hope for the Cultural Corridor fades from view

The Reed Whipple Cultural Center on Las Vegas Boulevard North, part of the Cultural Corridor, in downtown Las Vegas Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.
Photo: Steve Marcus

Before the blooming of the Arts District, Fremont East and Third Street—and long before Downtown Project—there was the Cultural Corridor, a slice of Downtown slated to be the cultural hub with its museums, historic sites and a community center that included a youth theater company and arts programming.

But the corridor never got much fanfare, blame falling on the run-down neighborhood and the homeless population taking refuge there.

Even today, the celebration of all things Downtown rarely spills north of the freeway on Las Vegas Boulevard—this despite the fact that the Cultural Corridor sits on a National Scenic Byway, features public art enhancements and is home to the Natural History Museum, the Mormon Fort and the Neon Museum, an in-demand tourist destination and inarguably one of Vegas’ most treasured gems.

So in 2012, when Rosemary’s Café announced a spinoff of the beloved, long-closed restaurant would open as part of a $45 million arts complex at the shuttered Reed Whipple Cultural Center (which would also include a bar and lounge and a 499-seat theater), it signaled a new direction for the area: diners and nightlife.

But this month that vision officially fell apart. The Clark County Theatre Center board has decided to build its arts complex near Town Square instead, and the idea of catching a meal and a play is off the table for now, leaving the Cultural Corridor as it was: a great idea that has yet to fully flourish.

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Kristen Peterson

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