As We See It

Looking back on the LGBT Center’s first 12 months Downtown

A marquee sign is shown in front of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, 401 S. Maryland Parkway on Monday, April 1, 2013.
Photo: Steve Marcus

For a Valley 2 million strong, a 6,000-square-foot Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada barely scratched the surface. So the organization moved to a renovated Downtown building nearly three times larger on April 6, 2013. Here are the most notable events from the $4 million Center’s first year Downtown, which it celebrates—along with its 20th anniversary—on April 12.

• A (nearly) smooth opening “I think people were so excited to be in the new, larger facility that I wouldn’t say there were any growing pains that we experienced,” says Center CEO Bob Elkins. However, immediately following the opening of the Robert L. Forbuss Building on South Maryland Parkway, longtime executive director Candice Nichols suddenly moved into a senior director of programming and community partnerships role, the Center citing a need for a more business-minded leader. Nichols has since left the Center.

• Bronze winner The facility’s resident eatery, the Bronze Café, has not only garnered widespread praise, but attracted patrons that, according to Elkins, might not have visited the Center otherwise.

• Programming change A grant enabled the ambitious Centerpiece cultural series that also attracted folks from across the Valley. Some 54,000 people utilized the Center’s services, space or arts offerings last year, but Elkins says he’s most proud of the augmented outreach to the transgender community. The Center organized Vegas’ first Trans Pride Week in November.

• Pride tweak When nonprofit Southern Nevada Association of Pride Inc. lost its tax-exempt status, the Center stepped in as a fiscal agent, saving Pride last September. The groups’ boards of directors are currently exploring a merger—“a more in-depth partnership that would keep the Center involved in what Pride is and how it evolves in the future and coming years,” Elkins says.

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