How a pandemic shut down spurred a downtown Las Vegas mural art explosion that helped heal a community
In partnership with the city of Las Vegas, the Downtown Vegas Alliance (DVA), a nonprofit organization that connects its members and downtown stakeholders to influence growth in the heart of Las Vegas, has announced a free community event. Meet the entrepreneurs, artists, and city government leaders who came together during Phase I of the pandemic to create inspirational, provocative, and beautiful works of art. The March 22 “Successes and Insights” event is free and open to the public by RSVPing to https://bit.ly/DVAcovidmurals.
In mid-March of 2020, the State of Nevada mandated all non-essential businesses must close. As a result, many downtown Las Vegas businesses took advantage of a city of Las Vegas program that provided funding for artists to create murals on the plywood boards covering their storefronts. Once erected, these “COVID Murals” became an instant drive-through gallery that helped inspire and heal the Las Vegas community and spurred an art explosion throughout the entire downtown area that continues today.
When restrictions were lifted and shops began to reopen, The COVID Murals were collected and preserved through a collaborative effort between the 18b Las Vegas Arts District, DVA, First Friday Foundation, city of Las Vegas, Mojave Events, and local business owners. Several of the collected murals will be on display at the March 22 event that includes a series of conversations/stories from local leaders, entrepreneurs, and artists who were instrumental in creating, executing, and collecting the murals.
Featured storytellers include:
Ryan Smith, director of economic and urban development, city of Las Vegas.
Ally Haynes-Hamblen, director, office of cultural affairs, city of Las Vegas.
Derek Stonebarger, owner of ReBar and Davy’s on Main Street in downtown Las Vegas.
Abby Stroot, president of the 18b Las Vegas Arts District Association and owner of Pincushion.
Izaac Zevalking (Recycled Propaganda), a socio-political artist acclaimed for his graphic exploration of a broad variety of contemporary issues who created several COVID murals.
Carolyn Wheeler, executive director of the Downtown Vegas Alliance, will serve as emcee and storyteller.
The Downtown Vegas Alliance (DVA) is a member-driven 501(c)6 nonprofit organization that connects its members and downtown stakeholders to influence growth in the heart of Las Vegas through thought leadership and collaboration. Founded in 2008 by a group of leading business and property owners and the city of Las Vegas, the DVA continues to evolve and advocate for the downtown community. The organization serves as the leading voice of downtown Las Vegas and an indispensable partner for its business community. Visit downtown.vegas for more information.
NV Energy is the sponsor of the March 22 event, which also serves as a preview for a larger, ticketed first-of-its-kind exhibit scheduled for May 12-22 that will include dozens of The COVID Murals along with the stories of the artists who created them and the businesses they covered. This Successes & Insights forum, located at 902 S. Commerce Street, will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on March 22. The event is free and open to the public, and registration at https://bit.ly/DVAcovidmurals is required since space is limited. Follow Downtown Vegas Alliance: Facebook, Twitter @DTLVAlliance, Instagram, and LinkedIn.