Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Will It Take?

From right, photographer Gary Reese, owner of Plaza Gallery (223 S. Water St.), describes a photograph from his exhibit "State of Change" to Valan Mallory, 5, Aliysa Mallory, 11, and Sausha Goaves, 8, during Third Thursday Arts Walk. Photo credit: Richard Brian

We have hopes. We have dreams. We have aspirations. We have a surplus of artwork.

We need funding. We need foot traffic. We need sales. We need a successful business model.

Downtown Henderson is merely one of hundreds, possibly thousands, of small communities with the desire to one day (soon) be a cultural leader but, currently, severely lacking in the budgetary fortitude, direction, and brand stewardship. Or so it would seem.

The overall air about the community right now is a direct reflection of that of the country—one of doom and gloom, irreversible downward trending, and often severe disappointment, with the occasional fleeting bright spot. In the face of an impossibly bleak revitalization landscape, what is one to do?

As a member of said community—one who volunteers his time, much like many of his fellow constituents—I will be the first to tell you that this turn of tides will not be brought to fruition by the city or the artists or the patrons or any one single arts organization alone. And, frankly, the community is not going to build itself. As much as that pains me to say and stings to hear, we've all got to play our part and not simply rely on the city and grants to carry the load. We must find our strengths and play to them and, for starters, get involved. All of you. All of us. Me, included.

The truth of it is, painting is not my day job. For many of us, it is not our day job. Yet, somehow, we find and often make time to do it. We pay our dues to belong to any number of local organizations, then we sit back and wait for the people to pour in. Therein lies the rub. No people. No pouring in.

If we want to see a drastic turnaround, it must begin with us. We must band together and continue to push. Not only that, we must come out and show support for ourselves; for one another. It's simply not enough to create the product then expect people to come and find it. Especially in times like these, we must remind people in and around our respective communities that the product is there to be had. Not only that, we must believe in and create enough allure around the product that, even now, it will draw people in. And, to take it even a step further, we must make sure the product is worthy of peoples' time, energy, and...ah,

We must strive to maintain a certain level of quality for the product and ensure that we don't falter. As I reminded some friends of mine lately, nothing will kill a bad product more quickly and effectively than good advertising. While art may be subjective, we must be our harshest critics, and continue to be discerning. Each of us and the city as well is responsible for making good on our promises. If we promise young, fresh, hip, cutting edge, we must deliver on it. Otherwise, we will suffer a swift and painful backlash. We can promise anything, so long as we can back it up. For some, the city has promised growth and redevelopment. The economy has shown that this is not presently viable or sustainable. Hard to argue with that. Regardless, artists and business owners alike have invested in this promise and right now it's costing people rent, time, and in some cases their livelihoods.

As a member of the local art community for the past two years, I have seen change, much of it for the worse. Where there is passion, there is a deficiency of organization. Where there is talent, there is an abundance of apathy. Everybody knows the situation is bleak. The last thing we need is any more armchair quarterbacks or Debbie Downers standing on the sidelines preaching woe is me.

We are artists. We are a creative bunch. We are resourceful and resilient. Now, we must take all of those things and find a way to flourish in spite of our given set of circumstances rather than meet our demise at the hands of them.

Necessity is the mother of all invention. This site was created just shy of over one month ago because it was agreed upon that the Henderson art community, the HAA specifically, could stand to be a bit, if not a heap, more contemporary. One little blog will not a resurgence make but, honestly, it sure beats the alternative. Speaking the truth and shaking things up may ruffle a few feathers but if that's what it takes to begin to pull the nose up, that's what we do, all in the name of progress.

There's an article in today's Las Vegas Sun with interviews of Henderson's own Gary Reese, Susanne Reese, and Fred Sigman that inspired this post and, in many ways, echoes these sentiments. Read it here and, each and every one of you, get your wheels turning, show up at the next general meeting, and, for the love of art, get involved.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Who Made the Blog Today? Dotty Fenner

Dotty Fenner holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Fine Arts from Mesa Sate College in Grand Junction, Colorado. She has also completed considerable course work at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. She is currently enrolled as an art student at the College of Southern Nevada to continue her professional development. These academic experiences enhance her lifelong practice of drawing and her passionate love of art.

See more of Dotty's work at and contact her at

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Who Made the Blog Today? Olena Ostapyshyn

Olena Ostapyshyn is an artist and interior designer with more than 10 years of graphic design, residential and office design experience as well. She has in excess of 70 pieces of art in private collections here in the US, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Ukraine.

Olena holds a Bachelor's and MFA, both in Drawing and Art Teacher Education and is certified as an interior designer. She is a member of the International Furnishings and Design Association and the Henderson Art Association.

Contact her at

Friday, December 26, 2008

Who Made the Blog Today? Yoko Konopik

Born in China of Japanese parents, Yoko Kondo Konopik studied in Tokyo, Japan and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She went on to further pursue fine arts in Paris, Mexico City, Tokyo, and Washington, DC and has displayed work in galleries in cities the world over, among them, Cairo, Egypt; Jakarta, Indonesia; and our country's own Alexandria, Virginia. Yoko settled in Las Vegas in 1995 and has been exhibiting in solo and group shows regularly ever since.

She enjoys the creative process, adding that it brings her "comfort and happiness" if she can "make pieces with beautiful colors in lyrical lines and forms." Her work is currently on loan to the West Sahara Library and she is a juried member of the Henderson Art Association.

See more at and contact Yoko at

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Theatre Troupe Faces Similar Plight As Henderson Artists At Large

What will it take for the arts (all of them—visual, cultural, theatrical) to receive the love and respect they deserve in this corner of the world? Tough to say. Right now the lagging economy, relative tightening of belts, and trimming of fat in every sector, region, industry, nook, and cranny, nationwide, can be blamed for much of the cold shoulder these often overlooked and under-supported disciplines are receiving, but not all of it. And that's not always the case. Even in boom times, selling art and filling theatre seats can be challenging, that is, if you're fortunate enough to even have a gallery or theatre space at all.

The Henderson Art Association currently has no gallery space. That's not for lack of considering one. Rents are high and terms are less than ideal. Several spaces have recently come available in the downtown Henderson area. Perhaps the association and even some individual artists may soon take up residence in one or more of these spaces. Time (and budgets) will tell. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, we've taken up residence here on the web in the blogosphere. And here we shall remain, alive and well, until the time is right to once again occupy a physical space or several.

Similarly, Henderson-based Theatre in the Valley is one such performance group that fits this description, faces many of the same challenges as their paintbrush-wielding brethren, and is also currently without a permanent home.

In times of need, people tend to band together. We must all show love, respect, and support for our respective passions and pursuits. Art is art. Here is a link to an article published in the Las Vegas Sun detailing the current state of Theatre in the Valley.

One More Holiday Greeting

Photographer Nabila Khanam submitted this photo of her granddaughter Niah who turned ten months old yesterday, Christmas Eve day, along with a wish of peace and joy to all.

Wherever you are, whatever you're celebrating, whoever you're spending time with, we wish you a wonderful holiday season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Who Made the Blog Today? Miguel Font

Miguel Font was born and raised in Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island he describes as "blessed with awesome and wide-ranging tropical beauty."

His penchant for creating arresting images comes more from innate ability than from formal training. Here's a small window into his world.

"Although drawing has been an essential instrument in expressing my understanding of things since I can remember, the benefit of formal art schooling is not a component of my academic experience. A college education in Science, followed by years working in the business of automated data processing, embody my overall conventional experience. On the other hand, painting has been the unremitting path of my life."

Current member and former President of the Henderson Art Association, Miguel is a critical thinker who mixes passion and heart with every brush stroke. See more of his work and learn more about him as artist and individual at his website.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Building A Child's Esteem. No Permit Required.

Photo by Jim Decker/Community Publications

Construction may be a little slow but building up our most vital resource—our kids—is as critical as ever. To that end, according to a recent Las Vegas Review-Journal article, the Nevada Housing Division recently sponsored and judged 158 pieces in their 13th Annual Where I Live Contest. There were several other sponsors.

To enter, students in the Clark County School District, from kindergarten to fifth grade, were asked to submit artwork depicting their homes. The winners will be displayed in a January 14th exhibit at The Venetian. The exhibit is free and open to the public. It will begin at 4:00 pm and remain on display until 8:00 pm that evening. The cocktail reception begins at 6:30 pm and the awards presentation will begin at 7:00 pm.

Calendars showcasing the children's artwork are also free and can be obtained by calling 702.486.7220 or by emailing

While we're on the subject of calendars, mark yours and plan on coming out to support art among our youth on the 14th.

Read the original Review-Journal article at this link.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who Made the Blog Today? Nurshida Sweet

Nurshida grew up in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan and graduated from the Saint Petersburg (Russia) Mining Institute as an Engineer. She moved to the United States in 2002 with her husband and their daughter and became a US Citizen. Here she was able to pursue her artistic desires and has become a skilled artisan in hand-made crystal and gemstone jewelry. Her quality jewelry has been displayed and sold in several states.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Season's Greetings

Sadly, I missed the unprecedented Blizzard of 2008 here in the desert. Luckily, photographer Nabila Khanam captured its majesty with her camera and shared it with the following holiday message.

"Wishing you Season's Greetings...with a scene from my window on a rare day of snow in Henderson, Nevada."

Thank you, Nabila, and may we all enjoy a wonderful, safe, and warm holiday season.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Plaza Gallery Hosts December Third Thursday Reception

As mentioned in an earlier post, this Thursday, December 18th, is Third Thursday in Henderson. In light of the event, Gary and Susanne Reese are opening their gallery doors to offer a sneak peek at a new body of work and invite you all for a reception.

In their words, "2009 will be a year of historical reflection for those of us in the Las Vegas metro area. It is the Centennial of the creation of Clark County, Nevada. A century ago, Clark Co. was carved out of a then much larger Lincoln County, when residents of Searchlight, Goodsprings and newly established Las Vegas balked at traveling to Pioche for government business."

Clearly, these two know a thing or two about this region. So, more than experiencing some great photography, you might just come away with a little more knowledge than when you arrived.

In their commitment to present historical art to the Water Street District, Plaza Gallery will celebrate the Clark County Centennial with an opening of a historically themed exhibit on December 18th, between the hours of 5:00 pm and 9:00.

Like they did with the Las Vegas Centennial exhibit at the LVAM, Gary and Susanne have again created a photographic exhibit celebrating the region's cultural heritage. This time around, they are pleased to exhibit a selection of 2008 rephotographs of 140 year old scenes from southern Nevada. The exhibit blends the Old West with the New West into single images which break the traditional norms of scientific and minimalist art rephotography. Each print utilizes whatever techniques best reveal the progression of time between scenes, even if it blurs the distinction of what is old and new.

This is only part of the vivid description and reading about it here simply won't do the work justice. Join them and members of the growing local art community at the gallery this Thursday and partake in all of the other things going on in downtown Henderson.

See more and learn more at the Plaza Gallery website.

Use this link to revisit the previous December Third Thursday post.

Another Great Resource for All Things Henderson.

Looking for things to do in Henderson? Curious about what's going on in Henderson? Wish you had a resource for anything and everything you ever wanted to know about Henderson? Look no further.

Check out the americantowns site and you'll have more information than you know what to do with. Register and sign up to receive their email newsletter and, even better, that information will come to you.

This blog is dedicated mainly to creativity in and around Henderson, NV but it's good to think outside our box and even our zip code. To that end, you can pretty much find out what's going on anytime, anywhere.

Follow this link to see what's going on in Henderson right now.

Follow this one to visit the homepage and check out the local flavor of pretty much any American town or city.

Follow this one to register for the newsletter for your area of choice and stay ahead of the curve.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Week. Third Thursday in Henderson.

Bring family and friends. Join artists and local community members in the Water Street District this week, December 18th, for Third Thursday, the Artswalk, and Thursday Night Live, which takes place every Thursday evening at 8:00 pm. Third Thursday events kick off at 5:00 pm and go till 9:00 pm.

Stop in at Plaza Gallery, City Lights Gallery, or Rafi Architects Art Space to indulge your creative side. Then visit City Center Café and Grille, Lenny's Sub Shop, or El Mexicano Restaurant to satisfy your appetite.

Honestly, there are too many places to shop and eat to list in this small space. You'll just have to visit, support the local community, and experience them for yourself.

For more insight on the Third Thursday Artswalk, contact Susan Reese at

Find out more about the area and upcoming events at the links below:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winterfest in Henderson. Now through Saturday.

One day in. Two days left. Right now there's a little something fun and festive for the whole family going on in downtown Henderson at the Events Plaza.

Parades. Ice skating. Pony rides. Gingerbread houses.

The Plaza is located at 200 South Water Street in the Water Street District.

Find the full list of events for this weekend and in the future at the links below:

Who Made the Blog Today? Shirley Jeane

Shirley Jeane began painting on a full-time basis after a successful career in computer science and technical management in order to fulfill a lifelong dream of developing her creative skills. She has studied art at the Bemis School of Art, the Loveland Academy of Fine Arts, Pasadena City College, and under various art instructors. She holds a BA from the University of Texas and an MBA from the University of Southern California.

She represented the United States on the People to People cultural exchange program with China. She is a signature member, Treasurer, and past President of the Nevada Watercolor Society, a signature member of the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, a member of the Boulder City Art Guild, and a member of the Henderson Art Association. She teaches beginning and intermediate watercolor on a regular basis and consults in graphic arts, multimedia and computer technology used in the production and marketing of art objects.

For commissions or inquiries about her art, contact her here:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who Made the Blog Today? Jocelyn Lee

Jocelyn Lee earned her BFA from Pepperdine University in 1996 and is currently working in the Las Vegas public school district as an art teacher. She completed her Masters in Education with art emphasis at UNLV in May of 2008.

Jocelyn loves music, beauty, and color. She has enjoyed painting celebrities as well as beautiful beaches. 

She has painted murals that have appeared in the hallways of elementary schools and others that adorn her son's walls.

She is a member of the Henderson Art Association, the Contemporary Arts Collective, and the Las Vegas Art Museum, and has exhibited art through these organizations for over ten years.

Her philosophy: “Art is a reflection of life” and experiences change the art.

See more work and learn more about Jocelyn here:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reception, Show at MultiGen Center A Relative Success

Last Wednesday, artist Sharon Menary's theme for food and dress was Moroccan. Art enthusiasts turned out in droves.

In keeping with the traveling artists' motif, she provided a map of the world with pins in it. Each pin indicated a painting's location, making it convenient for viewers to pair the painting with the country or region where it was inspired and created.

One portrait, for which a past real estate client of hers had posed some time ago, resembled him so closely that this uncanny likeness drew the lion's share of attention all evening. How much attention? So much, in fact, he had to buy it.

Several pieces were sold that evening.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Who Made the Blog Today? Nicky Watts

Relative newcomer to the southern Nevada art scene and long-time active member of the contemporary art world, Nicky Watts is taking downtown Henderson by storm. Over her career as an artist, she has organized seventeen art exhibitions (some internationally) and been a featured artist in eighteen exhibitions, two of them solo exhibitions.

Her range, like her passion, is huge. Fashion, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, and video. You name it, she excels in it.

Nicky has worked as a freelance photographer for the past five years and is currently running her own photography business, developing a large-scale art exhibition, volunteering, planning art living spaces in Henderson, and building a casting-portfolio development brand called Modcosmo. 

Watts is an ambassador to the Henderson Chamber of Commerce and the Public Relations "it" girl for the Henderson Art Association.

See her work and find out more about her here:

Or here:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

All That Glimmers.

HAA member, PR Committee Chair, and seasoned photographer Nicky Watts has been busy shooting just about everything these days—with a camera, that is. Last week, a day or two before Thanksgiving, it was jewelry. She shot product for local jeweler Rachelle L'Hommedieu—a ton of it.

Nicky's photos of Rachelle's jewelry can be found in one of several collections on her flickr site: Melange Jewelry - A Set On Flickr

Rachelle's jewelry, described by Nicky as "beautiful" and "absolutely amazing" may be found at her site:

Right now she's offering discounts on jewelry purchased through her site. The holidays are upon us. Gifts need to be given. Stockings need to be stuffed.

Check out both photographer and jeweler when you have a chance and, should a particular piece speak to you, don't hesitate to speak back.

Rachelle may be contacted here:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Henderson Artist's Exhibit Makes the LV Sun

Sharon Menary's Life's Journey of the Traveling Artists exhibit, currently showing at the Henderson Multigenerational Center, has been featured in the Las Vegas Sun.

The Multigenerational Center is located at 250 S. Green Valley Parkway and this show has been featured in an earlier post found below.

Check out the article in the Las Vegas Sun here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Who Made the Blog Today? Nabila Khanam

Artist Nabila Khanam developed a passion for Fine Art Photography after retiring from her international business in textiles and clothing. It was then that she moved to Henderson, NV and began her long-cherished pursuit of photography.

Nabila is a member of the Henderson Art Association, Boulder City Art Guild, Nevada Camera Club, and the Photography Club of the College of Southern Nevada.

Learn more about Nabila and see more of her work at her website.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

NV Arts Advocates Arts Awareness Luncheon

You're invited to join the Nevada Arts Advocates as they celebrate 31 years of supporting creativity. 

The luncheon will take place December 10, 2008 at the Gold Coast Hotel, Salon A B. Doors open at 11:30 am and lunch will be served at noon.

John Oceguera, NV State Assembly Majority Leader and Dina Titus, NV Congresswoman-Elect will be guest speakers.

Tickets are available at $30.00 per person if paid by December 5th and $35.00 if paid after December 5th or at the door.

To secure yours, pay by credit card, or inquire about other events, contact the NAA at this email address or visit their site.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Life's Journey Exhibit at Multigenerational Center

Artist and watercolorist Sharon Menary will be exhibiting work in her Life's Journey of the Traveling Artists show at the Henderson Multigenerational Center. The Center is located at 250 S. Green Valley Parkway, across from the Paseo Verde Library.

The exhibit will officially be on display from December 1, 2008 through January 2, 2009, although it is already hanging, if anyone would like to see it a little earlier.

There will be a reception on Wednesday, December 3rd from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Come. Support. Bring friends.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Hope you're all ready to settle in for the long-awaited holiday. Or maybe you're already settled.

This site may go a little quiet for a few days. But rest assured, we'll be back. We'll be back with a vengeance. Please use that time to check out some of the recent posts or visit some of the recently added links. There is a lot of talent out there and having access to many artists' sites in one place makes it easy to see what's going on, locally and in other parts of the country.

If you're a local, visit Chef Flemming's Bakery. Indulge. Support the downtown Henderson economy. Be inspired.

Head to the Liberace Museum. ( It's not in Henderson but it's just a few minutes away and they've recently opened their doors to the HAA and the NVWS. It's only right that we take time to return the favor. Plus, the costume, piano, and car collections are simply dazzling.

Again, as a community, we must all continue to encourage, collaborate, and lift each other up.

To that end, Henderson Art Association member and PR Committee Head Nicky Watts has been pounding the pavement this week and making inroads with several local vendors and businesses. More posts on this progress and some pretty fresh shows from Nicky and others to come soon.

In general, there's a ton of great stuff going on in the community right now. We could give you a rundown but the Las Vegas Sun has already done a stellar job of encapsulating it. Read more. Get the details here. Then think about how you can be a part of it.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Art I Learned in the 4th Grade.

Artwork by Clark County students. Photos of artwork by Richard Brian/Home News.

One dark and dreary school night, many moons ago, I sat at home, full of dread, while my parents zealously attended a Parent-Teacher Meeting. My grade school interim report suggested that I was doing more than getting by, but there was one bit of criticism from that evening's discussion that blind-sided me and, as you can see, may have scarred me for life.

How was I doing? Fine, as far as I was concerned. Math? Great. Science? Passing with flying colors. Art? Presumably my favorite and most intuitive subject. So what bad things could my fourth grade art teacher possibly have to say? I can remember the librarian's name. Miss Bitner. But the art teacher's has long since been forgotten and rightfully so.

I wasn't there for the confab between grown-ups regarding my progress, so all I've ever had to go on is hearsay. According to my parents, she said I displayed some innate artistic ability. Cool.

But that wasn't all she said. She went on to say that I was "too meticulous." All of eight years old, I could hardly pronounce the word. Having no idea what it meant, I still took issue with it. I didn't like the way it sounded, even when I spoke it. My little finger-painting spirit was officially crushed.

In that class, I specifically remember rendering a copy of the cartoon feline Garfield and it turning out pretty brilliantly, for a fourth grader. But because I was so focused on perfecting his whiskers, or his stripes, or his tail, I received unspoken admonishment in the form of a barely passing grade, to which I really wanted to reply "'s art."

Today, I understand the definition of "meticulous" well and to this day, I still don't understand how that was a bad thing. Regardless, in Miss What's-her-face's mind it was, and simply hearing it made me conscious enough as a child not to take art for several of my crucial formative years.

Eventually, I got over it and figured things out on my own, with the help of true guidance, mentorship, and encouragement, not the kind you find in a textbook. To some degree I still hold that woman responsible for my not enrolling in a creative curriculum or pursuing a creative field sooner than I did. Thankfully, one day I figured out that, while I didn't know what I wanted to do, I knew what I DIDN'T want to do, and that was dress, think, and act like everybody else.

Now I think for myself. Some days I actually get paid to think. And I will strongly encourage my child to think for him- or herself too, with the promise of someday getting paid to do so. Being an artist—any type of artist—allows you to do that. It's liberation of the mind, the soul, the heart.

So, when I came across an article in the Las Vegas Sun championing art in the Clark County School District, I immediately knew what I had to do. Spread the word. Support the cause. Include a link.

The editors were kind enough to let me include a couple of photos of the student work on this site. You've already seen them at the top of this post and, truth be told, they're light years ahead of where mine ever were.

Check out the full story, and let's all do our part to encourage and let kids know it's never a bad thing to think things through and definitely a wonderful thing to dream.