Artist Justin Lepper is standing in a former X-ray room inside Emergency Arts, once a medical center, discussing his visual, immersive sound-based experience involving a 3D hologram and four LED panels playing Mario Kart while head-trauma MRIs glow from a wall-mounted light board.
Tentatively titled “The Pharmacy,” the work based on fun while also referencing consequences is one of hundreds featured at the Small Space Fest, a well-curated, genre-bending, multi-media art event set to occupy nook and crannies of the two-story Emergency Arts for one evening, June 20. “I really love interactive art,” Lepper says. “I want there to be activity.”
With artist Brent Holmes asking Hellenistic-era philosophical questions to visitors next door and offering response-based vegan spreads, that stretch of hallway will be highly active. But with more than 75 visual and performing artists, the rest of the building should be moving, too. “Performers are going to be in bathrooms, freight elevators and closets,” says co-organizer Elizabeth Colon Nelson, who’s presenting the event with Heidi Rider and Adriana Chavez, all founders of the Weft in the Weave collective. “A lot of performers will be in elevators.”
Artist Jim White, whose exhibit, Palimpsest, is on exhibit at Satellite Contemporary on the first floor, is deconstructing, and then reconstructing, stuffed animals for his hanging soft sculptures. Emily Wilson’s photographs of hotels purchased by the Downtown Project share an area featuring D.K. Sole’s work using white towels (a Vegas hotel-room staple). Photographs of the grounds of mental institutions by Rhode Island artist Jodie Mim Goodnough will hang in the wide stairwell taking visitors to the second floor, leading to a hallway where works by Las Vegas artist Cristina Paulos address mental illness care systems.
The space dictates the work, Nelson says, explaining that in selecting participants, “We didn’t ask artists to present their works, but to present themselves. We wanted them to tell us about themselves, what they’re currently working on and work they’ve done, but to not submit a specific piece.”
One artist made surreal marionettes. Community-made smaller artworks from a First Friday activity will be dispersed throughout the rooms, and Las Vegans Nova May and Joel Spencer will take over drawers in the Emergency Arts’ zine library. And among all the visual works, opera singers, dancers and actors will be the stern and tyrannical school marm Miss Margarida, delivering moments of “Ouch” and “Hell yeah.”
Small Space Fest June 20, 6 p.m.-1:30 a.m., $20 suggested donation. Emergency Arts, 520 Fremont St., smallspacefest.com.