Emergency Arts offers more than good coffee

There’s lots of cool stuff inside Emergency Arts, like this piece by Joy Snyder and Kathryn Gilbert.

Emergency Arts has been celebrated for diversifying the Downtown cultural scene and kick-starting an arts presence on Fremont East. Between live music and poetry, fashion shows and a much-needed coffeehouse, the venue has filled a huge void for locals. Still, the intended scope of EA reaches far beyond the Beat. As a hothouse for emerging creative professionals, it’s also an arts center. So what about the art?

Professional studios, artist spaces and tiny art galleries with rotating exhibitions fill the rambling hallways and rooms of the former medical center. The variety is dizzying, and while the quality can be inconsistent, the energy is infectious.

A local curatorial trend toward neon signs hits High Noon at Kleven Contemporary, one of several conventional galleries at EA. For Noon, artist Brian Henry uses both digital manipulation and hand-applied media to subtly accentuate photographs and prints of classic Vegas signage. The stark shadows and saturated light of small works on paper beautifully convey the gravity and tension implied by the title’s cinematic reference.

Justin McCroy’s Empire Gallery offers interesting fine art by local tattoo artists, such as Serene Temple’s sharp illustrative paintings and drawings this month.

The Details

Emergency Arts
Three and a half stars
Ongoing, all galleries open every Second Saturday
520 E. Fremont St., 300-6268

Some of the best work inside EA is the result of collaborative efforts. At Sporadica, the assemblage sculptures of artists Joy Snyder and Kathryn Gilbert—wall hangings of doll parts and found elements—are a must see, strange work residing between Joseph Cornell and granny’s haunted attic.

Down the hallway is a clean white space covered in renderings by three emerging architects. The collection of drawings by Drew Gregory, Zak Ostrowski and Craig Palacios is intelligent, edgy and thought-provoking—a reminder of Vegas’ dynamic architectural lineage.

Innerviews and Action Red have a collective feel with an equally fresh edge. The former space celebrates street aesthetic and DIY sensibilities (Feevo and Black57 are standouts); the latter, Action Red, provides exhibition opportunities for artists living with AIDS. Its paintings by Jeffrey Hames are some of the most interesting work in the whole building.

There’s too much fun and goodness to mention. Wintry Coney Island photos by Steven Dansky and vibrant paintings by Tatiana Hantig are nestled on the second floor, and Jennifer Henry’s FlockFlockFlock boutique has great art on its walls and hangers. Stop by EA for a coffee. Stick around for the visual inspiration.


Danielle Kelly

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