Written and Photography by Isabel M. Castro
“My passion lies in fostering creativity, beauty, self-esteem, and cultural awareness in the arts—values I believe are essential for human development.” Roz Knight
City of the World (COTW), a nonprofit 501(c)3, proudly unveiled its amazing art space, marking its third transformative chapter. The Meadows Mall administration generously offered COTW the opportunity to move into the expansive former Payless Shoe store, nearly doubling its previous size. Committed volunteers, contributing their time and a few gallons of paint, revitalized the space, culminating in a grand reopening on December 1. Dedicated walls in the space feature young and seasoned artists' artworks, all attractively displayed in diverse media, techniques, styles, and subject matters. The visionary and driving forces include Founder and Executive Director Roz Knight and her dedicated staff, who have recreated a true multi-generational meeting place, including favorites like Chocolate Jazz Art Café and ongoing gallery exhibitions.
At its core, this new space has evolved into a beautiful community hub, hosting numerous classes and workshops, a community holiday gift boutique at affordable prices, and many year-round activities. During December, dozens of artists and vendors will sell unique items and outstanding works in various media from featured artists such as Maria Todd, John Trimble, Penny Ramos, Karen Buford, Lesley Davis, Val Woods, and Tracy Jones.
Born in Montreal, Canada, Roz was exposed to a formative creative environment by her mother starting at a young age. Growing up in a home where art classes and music were integral, Roz developed a profound love of nature and multidisciplinary artistic expression.
After spending six years in Vermont as a young woman, Roz embarked on a thirty-six-year journey in Las Vegas. There, she married an African American man, raised six children, and became a loving grandmother to 15 grandchildren while devoted as a dedicated advocate for a total learning environment. Roz worked with special needs children and offered them new learning experiences through the arts. From humble beginnings of showing student work in restaurants, Roz's milestones include the growth of arts in the city and state, championing creativity, beauty, self-esteem, and cultural awareness.
Roz's teaching philosophy is rooted in the artistic freedom of the '60s and '70s, with admiration for artists like Van Gogh and Picasso and the color palette of the Impressionist masters. In 1994, her commitment to education earned her the Teacher of the Year Award, leading to her participation in the Disney committee for the following decade. Roz's journey took her from teaching at UNLV and community college to co-founding the 18b Arts District with others and establishing the nonprofit City of the World in 1996. Her impressive educational background includes two master's degrees, and she is near completing her doctoral degree.
In later years, despite personal challenges and significant losses, Roz finds solace in her art, using techniques like concrete poetry. Her unique approach encourages students to draw from their experiences, promoting creativity, kindness, and self-expression.
Looking ahead, Roz, along with her staff, envisions a bright future for COTW as they continue to inspire people with kindness and dedication to the arts. Its mission is to educate, produce, and market local artists while celebrating and enriching the arts experience—a year-round gift that keeps on giving. Join them in becoming a volunteer, supporter, or arts patron. The community is welcome and encouraged to call, visit the website, or check Facebook for special event times and schedules.