Art

What’s on the drawing board?

Kristen Peterson asks some questions about Downtown’s arts future

Image
Jennifer Harrington, with a piece from a show she curated.
Photo: Iris Dumuk

A few questions with ... Jennifer Harrington

A little more than a year ago, Jennifer Harrington, owner of Henri & Odette Gallery, got to thinking about leasing the former Fremont Street Medical Center on Fremont and Sixth Streets and turning it into an affordable creative space for galleries, boutiques and offices, all while keeping the medical theme. The effort, she says, was to a way to boost the arts and downtown Las Vegas in this economic downturn.

In January she and husband Michael Cornthwaite, owner of the Downtown Cocktail Room, held an open house at the space with plans to open it this spring.

When will Emergency Arts open? At the end of March, people will have their leases and keys, and I want everyone moved in by the end of the month.

How many tenants? All 20 spaces downstairs are full and we have three people on a waiting list.

What impact will it have Downtown? Anytime you have 20 new businesses opening up in one building, it’s going to draw more people.

Did you find someone to run a coffee shop? Yes. It’s a couple. They are small-business-minded. It’s going to be independent. They want to get started immediately.

How do you feel about complaints that it’s not in the Arts District? With that kind of attitude, nothing is going to work. We’re going to be bringing new people to Downtown. It’s all Downtown, and it’s all good for Downtown.

David Mozes

A few questions with ... David Mozes

A few years ago Los Angeles developer David Mozes took an interest in a parcel of land in the Arts District that he thought would be prime real estate for a development project—an arts-related, mixed-use venue near a major rapid transit system connecting locals and tourists with Downtown. The economy resulted in a setback, but Mozes, who has moved here, is still going forward with plans to create the Mission Las Vegas behind the Arts Factory.

Where is the project at now? We’re working on recapitalizing the project to reduce debt and increase equity position. We will be remodeling the two buildings on the southwest quadrant—the old Lady Luck Laundry and Ray N’ Ric Auto. The goal is to remodel one into art studios and the other into an art gallery with 10 separate gallery areas.

Weren’t you going to demolish those buildings? Yes, but I started looking into renovating those buildings, because it’s the only way to cater to this community this year.

When will renovation begin and when will it be completed? It can begin and be done by the end of this year. The buildings are in great shape. We already have the parking lot. The infrastructure is already done. The reason I didn’t do it in the past is because I didn’t want to waste costs on buildings that were going to be demolished.

Why do this? I don’t know of any other piece of land that has as much wind at its back as this parcel in this particular neighborhood of this particular Downtown of this particular city. The transit line is a launching pad. The shoulder we can stand on.

How will the Mission affect the area? The Arts District stop is the only stop that has no attractions. It makes the Arts District relevant for the first time in the last 15 years of its storied existence. If we don’t have something at this transit stop to catch someone’s eye, they’re going to just pass on through.

How much have you invested? Our current amount is $8.5 million.

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Kristen Peterson

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