Thursday, April 19, 2012 | 5:56 p.m.
That Cockroach Theatre company will be settling into an “intimate, accessible, 80-plus seat performance space” inside Art Square behind the Arts Factory is just one major bit of information flying out from the Arts District these days. A mural marking its permanent home—Art Square Theatre—is already on the building.
Head south on Main Street, and you’ll discover Retro Vegas' new home: (1131 S. Main Street), a dazzling pink building with a stylish showroom of art and antiques that’s hard to miss.
Its old space, 1211 S. Main Street, now houses the Patina Decor, a boutique selling antiques and other unique furnishings and home accoutrements. It opened less than two weeks ago, next to Skin City Body Painting. Across the street, Medusa’s Antiques & Collectibles, which opened in March, had a fairly steady stream of shoppers on a recent Saturday, and joining the new shops is antiques store Sin City Pickers, at 10 W. Wyoming Avenue at Main Street.
Clay Arts Las Vegas, a teaching studio and gallery, is right in the middle of it all, having moved into the space formerly known as the Art Bar—1511 S. Main Street—earlier this year.
But there’s more than art and antiques: Cowtown Guitars, a longtime Las Vegas business that buys, sells and appraises guitars and guitar equipment, recently opened a store at 1009 Main Street, and around the corner at 220 E. Charleston Boulevard is Electric Lemonade, a small boutique specializing in vintage and contemporary clothes.
Meanwhile, Wes Myles, owner of the parcels on Main Street where the new urban lounge Velveteen Rabbit (owned by sisters Pam and Christina Dylag) is slated to open this spring, says he’s nearly through the permitting process. Add to that the other businesses in the area—galleries, boutiques, antiques stores and bars, and you have the foundation of a fairly diverse business/shopping district.
What that could look like will be demonstrated April 28 and 29, when the nonprofit group, Greener Blocks plans to transform a mainly empty stretch of Main at Charleston into a “living community” with a temporary restaurant, boutique, café, dog park, entertainment and gardening and canning classes. Organizers also promise yoga, children’s activities and food stands with local farmers selling vegetables. Its name comes from a focus on sustainability—solar power, biodegradable utensils and recycling.
Why the bother? It’s the group’s mission to show how a community can come together to change its neighborhoods. Slowly, with a lot of hard work, grass-roots investment and setbacks, that’s been happening over the years in Downtown’s Arts District. The change is noticeable. The past two Saturdays, traffic in and out of the stores—old and new—has been pretty steady for the area, while diners packed the inside of Casa Don Juan for an afternoon meal. It’s starting to look like Downtown’s Main Street, a great slice of old Las Vegas, is getting some well-deserved attention.