Las Vegas Sun

April 19, 2015

Currently: 86° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Emergency launch

Galleries and boutiques open in Downtown’s new multiuse arts space


Leila Navidi

Tatoo artists Lily Flores, left, and Rachael Snyder chat inside Empire Gallery during the soft opening of Emergency Arts on Friday, May 7, in downtown Las Vegas.

Emergency Arts opening

Four-year-old Isabella Villamil hides under a table outside Empire Gallery during the soft opening of Emergency Arts on Friday, May 7, in downtown Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

Walking into artist Jerry Misko's tiny, stylized gallery in Downtown's new Emergency Arts, you'd never know that latex-gloved nurses once stitched wounds in the wee cube — now painted a deep aubergine and accented with a refurbished Jens Risom chair.

Mikel Patrick's paintings cover the walls in another exam room, and "minis" of those works are tucked into a darling chest of drawers. The electric lime-green and chocolate-brown walls of Empire Gallery are a better match with the stamped tin roof than thin medical gowns.

Gentrification may be a dirty word in some circles, but adaptive reuse is a favorite among preservationists — a building saved from vacancy or demolition is a victory — and what many perpetually long for is another reason to go Downtown. So those who turned out for the May 7 soft opening at Emergency Arts were, for the most part, happy with the new innards of the former Fremont Street Medical building, now a multiuse creative space.

"I love it," says Dee Dee Nave, trying on a feathered white vest at Flock, Flock, Flock, which specializes in vintage chic. "I was familiar with this place when it was JCPenney."

Down the hall, Justin McCroy, owner of Empire Gallery, exhibits an assortment of artwork by inkers from various tattoo parlors, most of whom aren't selling works, just displaying. McCroy's decision to lease a space was location-based: "I like the vibe of Fremont Street."

Jennifer and Michael Cornthwaite opened Emergency Arts as a way to diversify the entertainment district. Michael owns and operates the Downtown Cocktail Room; Jennifer ran the Henri and Odette Gallery on Sixth Street, which will eventually open in Emergency Arts, presenting four or five shows a year.

As with the nearby Arts Factory, not all tenants plan to keep doors open all the time. Misko says his space will be open by appointment only and for special events. But the Burlesque Hall of Fame Museum will open its mini- museum next month, and plans to keep regular hours. Simone Turner, who operates a teaching space for jewelry making and mosaic tile arts, says she'll be open in the evenings and weekends, but that right now her focus will be getting the coffee shop at Emergency Arts up and running.

Indeed, in a Downtown where dream projects have been hit or miss, the survival of Emergency Arts might depend to some degree on the success of that coffee shop, which opens later this month. Vintage tables and chairs are already in place so sippers can look out the picture windows at Sixth and Fremont Streets in the Downtown they love — and love to complain about.

— Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: comment so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

No trusted comments have been posted.