The Lucy, the culturally steeped Downtown residential complex that’s now home to the Writer’s Block, has introduced an artist-in-residence program that could prove to be a pillar of the local art scene. Facilitators behind the Rogers Art Loft artist residency hope it will become a model for similar programs in Southern Nevada.
Rogers Foundation co-founder Beverly Rogers says that while there are other art residency programs in pockets around the area, the nature of the Valley’s urban sprawl makes it difficult for artists and members of the community to “congregate, create and communicate” in one centralized location. Also making the residency program at the Lucy so unique: It’s inclusive to all artists of all mediums, Rogers says.
“Whether performance, visual, literary or musicians, we put them all in one place and create something that’s not really been done before,” she says.
The Rogers Foundation is one of the largest privately funded charities in Southern Nevada and aims to impact the lives of children and young adults through arts education, Rogers says. She hopes the residency program will be an extension of that mission.
The program opened in June with conceptual artist Ayanah Moor, who uses a range of different media to explore the black queer identity, and how it relates to contemporary pop culture. The Lucy will host 14 more artists over the next 18 months, for sessions ranging from two to eight weeks.
Moor says she had only been to Vegas once before. During her first visit, she spent all her time in a conference hotel and never got the chance to experience Vegas’ art and literary culture. Her first impression was typical for most who are new to Vegas, only seeing it as a high stakes spectacle of neon and gambling.
“This time around, I got to meet more people and have more conversations with people in the arts community who are from here and have been here a while,” Moor says. “It’s been a much more rich engagement with the city.”
Patrick Duffy, who curated the residency program, says he has witnessed two decades of ebb and flow of the Vegas arts scene. He says that in the past, art programs in the community have had a tough lift, and while many programs start out with the best of intentions, there is rarely a sound strategy or business plan.
He believes the residency program at the Lucy will break that come-and-go cycle—and in doing so will build not just an art collection, but an art community. “This is what a true residency is all about,” Duffy says. “These artists are coming here to share their visions, ideas, philosophies and artistic movements.”