DVA, CLV, Arts District and others host The Covid Murals Art Exhibit

3/07/22

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.

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.

  • Dayvid Figler and Rae Lathrop

    DF: Downtown was great as a kid and it is even greater as an adult. I love all of downtown’s hidden gems, its vibrancy, history and sense of connection. Rae is relatively newer to Las Vegas, but just as passionate about downtown. Downtown lends itself to the shared experience, and as a couple we both love seeing this part of the city through each other's eyes. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

     

  • Rob Ponte

    Some of the best nights I’ve experienced started out with no plan other than walking around to check out what’s going on. The great thing about having so many bars and restaurants downtown is the ability to move around if you’re not feeling the vibe in one place. There are plenty of options just outside the door. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Brandon Wiegand

    The downtown Las Vegas of today has much to attract residents - a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene, growing diversity of businesses, and major centers of art and culture. Plus, living downtown I am easily within walking or biking distance of it all. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Hank Gordon, Chairman of Laurich Properties

    It is always a pleasure to deal with the city of Las Vegas’ economic development department. The staff is really interested in helping create a positive business environment to work with.

  • Jonathan Jenkins, Founder & CEO of OrderWithMe

    As our company continues its rapid growth, we quickly realized the need to set up a formal U.S. headquarters. We explored multiple cities and were about to make the move to San Francisco, and then we heard about the complete reinvention of downtown Las Vegas. Coming from China where things are booming and growing, we love that downtown Vegas now has a similar vibe of energy and change. Not only is there an exciting tech community here and much lower costs than the Bay Area, but we love the fact that almost every industry group brings their conventions to our front door once a year.

  • Andy Hsieh, Owner of Lux Delux

    We love the vibrancy and energy of Las Vegas, and downtown is at the heart of it all. That's why we've launched our mobile platform with a focus on downtown. This is an exciting time in Las Vegas history, where community, commerce and technology are all converging at once. Downtown is our city's hidden gem.

  • Ramesh Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Partnerships of SocialWellth

    We chose to relocate from the suburbs to downtown for several reasons. Our brand image and that of downtown’s mesh perfectly. The new downtown Las Vegas reflects a more hip, startup, social media-style image. Additionally, downtown’s emerging technology corridor, anchored by Zappos, is an environment that enhances our ability to recruit the types of technical skill sets required for our continued growth and success.

  • Mark Brandenburg, President of Golden Gate

    I think downtown Las Vegas is a unique blend of intimacy and great energy. Plus, in contrast to The Strip, it’s so easy to walk around…The Golden Gate has been here for over 100 years and with all the changes going on downtown, it feels like a new era. It truly is a renaissance—the rebirth of a classic.

  • Roberto Mendoza, Co-owner of Banger Brewing

    The city has been great in helping us with the licensing and procedures necessary to start a business. There hasn't been a brewery built in the city of Las Vegas for probably 10 years. So for them it hasn't been a typical ‘cut and paste’ thing. We're something different. It was a team work process to get us opened – a lot of talk and listening on both sides. And now the city started opening up the doors for other breweries once we were up and running. Good news for us and good news for the future. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)

  • Alexandra Epstein, Executive Vice President of El Cortez Casino Hotel

    This downtown area… is emerging and where many events are happening.

  • Meghan Mossler, Owner of Stitch Factory

    The city and the department of economic development have been very helpful to us and all the other downtown business owners. It’s such a community here, and everyone asks you what you need. That kind of help launching a business is amazing and priceless.

  • Pamela Dylag, Co-owner of Velveteen Rabbit

    The city is so supportive of new businesses. Things are popping up constantly. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)

  • Marc Abelman, CFO & Co-owner of Inside Style

    Downtown is becoming very much in demand…there’s a limited supply. Run fast, don’t walk.

  • Sam Cherry, CEO of Cherry Development

    For a while, downtown was one of the only places in the valley you would see cranes when you drove around. It was nice that city government stepped up and the private sector married with the public sector to create amazing projects that filled the gap. That was very important for us.

  • Johnny Jimenez, Owner of Toy Shack of Las Vegas

    Our business is booming amid the foot traffic on Fremont Street, and we’ve started to see how tourists are falling in love with downtown as they discover it. In the past year, we’re increasingly hearing things like, ‘Wow, next time we’ll stay downtown instead of on The Strip,’ or ‘We’ve visited downtown many times, but this is the first year we’ve actually stayed in a downtown hotel.’ They like that there is more to do within a smaller walking radius.

  • Rich Worthington, President and CEO of The Molasky Group of Companies

    Historically, downtown Las Vegas has not been a top destination for many locals, but in recent years… that trend is reversing itself. Given all the recent openings and progress, there’s much to explore and experience downtown.