Art & Travel
LAS VEGAS, Nevada- About 15 minutes and 9 miles from the Las Vegas strip sits an unassuming, white, rectangular building with windows so high up from the street that you can't possibly see inside. If I hadn't already seen a picture of the Left of Center Art Gallery on the internet we would have driven right past it. This modest, unadorned structure gives no outward indication of the artistic oasis that lies inside.
As an artist myself, I came to Las Vegas thirsty to learn about the art scene in a city known for glitz, girls and gambling. It seemed at first that in Las Vegas, the term "art gallery" was synonymous with tattoo parlor. But after doing some research we found the Left of Center Art Gallery. We would soon discover that this arts organization was one of the few refuges for local artists and those looking to enjoy the contemporary visual arts.
Left of Center's owner is a woman named Vicki Richardson. A skilled artist in her own right, she opened the gallery 20 years ago after noticing a need for artistic representation in Las Vegas.
The gallery's Art Director Mary Lou Evans graciously gave us a tour of the building's many colorful and vibrant spaces; a room that housed a permanent collection of African Art, a contemporary gallery currently showing the works of Orlando Montenegro, a huge studio space where artists collectively use the space to create, commune or just celebrate each other's artistic energy.
A downstairs gallery held the works of artist Harold Bradford. And just when I thought the tour was complete, Mary Lou led us into yet another large space where a spectacular array of paintings depicting several musicians like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie were propped up on easels. She told us that the University of Nevada Las Vegas had asked the gallery to compile a collection of artworks that the school would display on loan at one of its events.
I asked Mary Lou about the art scene in Las Vegas. She told me that unlike New York, and L.A. people in Las Vegas are just not as interested in the visual arts, making it a challenge to promote the arts in this city. From my vantage point, the folks at Left of Center seemed extremely committed to maintaining the small community that they have created. Their galleries are fresh, current and beautiful. Their energy is uplifting. Their passion is palpable. There's no doubt that our trip to Left of Center proved to be right on target.
Check out Left of Center on Facebook for up-to-date details on gallery openings and events.