Michele Quinn joins Las Vegas CAC

The Garden of Forking Paths at the Contemporary Arts Center, June 2012
Michele Quinn, left, in file photo taken at Centerpiece Gallery.

Michele Quinn, left, in file photo taken at Centerpiece Gallery.

After co-curating CityCenter’s $40 million art collection, opening Centerpiece Gallery at Mandarin Oriental and offering art advisory services from her Seventh Street office, Michele Quinn is back in the Arts District, so to speak.

The head of MCQ Fine Art became co-president of the Contemporary Arts Center, sharing the position with Aurore Giguet, and will work on the operations side of the nonprofit organization heading into its 25th year.

Additionally, Quinn is responsible for organizing CAC's Exquisite Corpse fundraising exhibit that launches CAC's Capital Campaign with a goal of raising $75,000.

The five-day show, opening May 2, features 20 collaborative works by 20 artists created in the exquisite corpse style—works rotating between artists, each of whom adds to the drawing then passes it onto another. In this case, the works are broken into thirds with each artist having a hand at three different pieces. The drawings are folded into thirds –head, torso and legs.

Quinn says she was inspired to organize the show after seeing Drawing Surrealism, which ended in January, at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and appreciates the way this type of Exquisite Corpse steps away from the more traditional artist-involved fundraisers that don’t bring anything new to the table.

Benjamin Entner's <em>Ego Sum</em> at the CAC.

Benjamin Entner's Ego Sum at the CAC.

“It’s something fresh,” she says. “It’s so open for interpretation, flexibility and creativity. That’s the fun part. Each artist has two weeks to finish each section of the drawing.”

Artists in Exquisite Corpse include past, present and future exhibiting artists of CAC, including Erik Beehn, Brent Sommerhauser, JW Caldwell, RC Wonderly, Suzanne Forestieri, Su Limbert, Mark Brandvik and Brian Swanson. The 18-by-24-inch drawings will each be priced at $500. One hundred percent of the proceeds goes to the CAC.

Quinn previously ran Godt-Cleary Projects, renamed G-C Arts, on Main Street in the Arts District, before moving to her Seventh Street location. Her resume includes stints at Gemini GEL and Christie’s Auction House. In addition to her work with CityCenter’s art collection, Quinn served as curator at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts for two years.

She says that she’s looking forward to working with Giguet, who is director of the Barrick Museum at UNLV and who was instrumental in its shift from natural history programming to art. Barrick now holds the Las Vegas Art Museum’s permanent collection. While serving as co-president at CAC, Giguet will maintain her position on the organization's exhibitions committee, which also includes artists Matthew Couper and Jo Russ, and Darren Johnson, curator of gallery exhibits with Clark County. The committee has received critical praise in the community for its shows of late.

“We’ve had really strong exhibits,” Giguet says. “I think we’re really stepping up the programming and the quality of work we’re bringing in. There’s just a really great vibe down there.”

Quinn’s focus will be on operations, including fundraising. The volunteer-run, non-profit organization aims to hire a full-time person. She’ll also be working with other board members to elevate CAC’s presence at Preview Thursday as a way to counter the First Friday monthly street festival that some artists and gallery owners say tends to negatively influence the Arts District.

Other plans include the formation of a much-needed arts forum, inspired by a recent Las Vegas Weekly article on the state of the arts in Las Vegas. That forum is in its planning stages and should begin shortly, Giguet says.

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