LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – What is an Arts District without art? The City of Las Vegas knows the popular Downtown area has become too expensive for most artists and creators to live or work. Thursday night, they hosted a town hall to discuss solutions to the problem.
“The Arts District has exploded. Everybody wants to be there…Restaurants and bars have been moving in but that has been pushing the artists and the creatives out of the district,” shared Maggie Plaster, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Director of the City of Las Vegas. More than 100 people packed into a historic theatre in the heart of the Arts District to strategize the area’s future.
“This is something 10 years overdue…the Arts District has been pricing itself out of reasonability for at least a decade now,” contended artist Brent Holmes. Holmes and fellow artist M Void say they have been priced out of the now pricey area.
“I think it is kind of ridiculous,” argued Void. “I cannot afford to live in the Arts District. I did about 10 years ago,” Holmes explained.
During a presentation, the City of Las Vegas shared it aims to create affordable artist live/work housing. The City inviting in ArtSpace, a nonprofit real estate developer specializing in affordable spaces for artists in cities across the country.
“You want to keep your local talent in place so that they don’t move to other cities,” Wendy Holmes, Senior Vice-President of ArtSpace asserted. A feasibility study was conducted exploring potential sites, funding, and financing.
“In Las Vegas, it is going to be new construction most likely,” Wendy Holmes told FOX5.
In addition to creating new spaces for artists, the city is considering other solutions. “We will likely expand the district if we can get the support and we will just have a bigger Arts District than we do now,” Plaster revealed.
Many artists say they need the help today, not years down the line.
“I think it great they are making efforts to do this, but I think the housing crisis is right now…I can’t wait three years for affordable housing. I need affordable housing now,” Brent Holmes said.
In addition to the public meeting, the City and ArtSpace are working together to conduct focus groups of artists, creatives, and cultural organizations to gather input from the community. ArtSpace will take all these elements to recommend next steps for the city.
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