Urban Enthusiast – January 2016

Urban Enthusiast – January 2016


Marlene Reid is a true urban enthusiast, deeply involved with the downtown Las Vegas community on many levels. She and her business partner, Michele Phillips, own Unhinged Etc., a carefully curated fine art and contemporary craft store at Art Square. Unhinged features art from over 40 artists: jewelry, paintings, small-scale sculptures, metalwork, wood work, custom bath and body products and more.

Marlene is also the president of the board of directors of the newly formed non-profit First Friday Foundation and is an active board member on the 18b, The Las Vegas Arts District neighborhood association board of directors.

Marlene’s personal art creations come out of Island Girlz, her crafting business, which always includes a recycled component. Marlene creates amazing paper art such as collages made from books, along with wearable functional art from everyday materials. She exhibits her work in art festivals all over the Southwest.  Obviously, Marlene never has time on her hands.

Where are you from originally?
Oahu, Hawaii but I’ve been in Las Vegas for more than 25 years.

What drew you to DTLV in particular and what makes you want to hang out and work here?
I have always been a “downtowner” in spirit. I worked for the federal government for many years and also was a part time artist. When I retired from my government job, I met with Brett Wesley and he helped me become more involved with art in DTLV – my passion. And here I am today!

What are some of your favorite attractions of the neighborhood?
I love Makers & Finders, Sin City Pickers, and both Gypsy Den and Reclaimed, which are both closed now. I always look for “hole-in-the-wall” places.

What do you think sets DTLV apart from other neighborhoods in Las Vegas?
The strong sense of camaraderie – the arts district is a true neighborhood where we rely on each other. For example, I recently had a flat tire and several of the guys from the Arts Factory came over to fix it – unasked.  They simply saw I was having a problem. I love this neighborhood for that type of friendship and enjoy chatting with the many artists who come into my store or who I meet in my travels around the neighborhood.

Any new developments in the neighborhood that you’re excite for?
Yes, all the new restaurants and eateries planned for 1st and Main. I’m also excited to see the arts district continue to grow and mature while keeping its sense of community.

Photo: Marlene Reid at Unhinged Etc. by Lucky Wenzel

  • 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.