[14 to Watch in 2014]

Brett Sperry, Arts District Developer

Brett Sperry in his Downtown Brett Wesley Gallery

When Brett Sperry announced plans in November to create a new art museum and design center on Charleston Boulevard in the Arts District, there was little reason to doubt his resolve. He’s one of few who’ve actually made brick-and-mortar investments in the area. Not only has Sperry built his own Brett Wesley Gallery on the corner of Charleston and South Casino Center, he’s also behind the development of Art Square, home to Artifice, Cockroach Theatre, Mingo Kitchen and Lounge and other businesses.

How the fundraising for the Modern Contemporary Art Museum unfolds over the next year will be something to watch. Sperry says he’s “just the instigator” here, but he’s heading up a board lined with notable business people, community leaders and active fundraisers. For now, the efforts are focused on the building and campus, a $29 million endeavor (with more than $2 million in cash and land donations already pledged) with little discussion regarding the art it will exhibit. Sperry says the museum’s content will be up to those on the future operations team.

In addition to the 35,000-square-foot Modern Contemporary Art Museum, the group is planning on a 15,000-square-foot Center for Creativity and outdoor sculpture garden, known as Luminous Park. The focus of the campus will be art, design and technology.

Sperry dabbles in all three: He’s an art collector, gallery owner and photographer who, at 21, started a video game company in a Las Vegas garage and turned it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Though museums are an entirely different beast, Sperry knows a thing or two about putting his weight behind an idea and seeing it through to fruition.

NEXT: Robert Bigelow, Aerospace Pioneer

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