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Downtown to Welcome New Arts Center | News

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Downtown to Welcome New Arts Center
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LAS VEGAS -- A young arts-minded couple has a unique vision for a part of Downtown Las Vegas, and it appears to be taking off.

Emergency Arts is a creative collective of working artists, photographers, musicians and other young entrepreneurs who plan to set up shop soon in a former medical center.

Back in the 1960's in New York, it was cheap rents that attracted an array of struggling artists to an area known today as Soho. Now, picture a smaller modern day version of that in an old Downtown Las Vegas medical building. That's the soon-to-be Emergency Arts.

The 1940's building at Fremont and Sixth Street was originally home to a J.C. Penney department store. As its neon sign reveals, it later became the Fremont Medical Center.

But soon, the old building that has sat empty for years, will be teeming with new life, fueled by the energy and passion of young artists and entrepreneurs at work.

Local art gallery owner Jennifer Harrington and her fiance Michael Cornthwaite, owner of the Downtown Cocktail Room, are the people behind Emergency Arts Creative Collective.

"For a couple hundred dollars a month they can have their own brick and mortar," said Harrington.

The couple says 18 tenants have already signed letters of intent to move into the 20 downstairs spaces next month, including artists, vintage retailers, a cafe and coffee house.

"We're going to keep the old bones of the building, but really let people have creative control of their spaces," said Harrington.

A professional photography studio plans to make use of these original x-ray light panels left behind and the red warning bulbs and old signage.

"Part of the charm of this place are all the common areas, so people who rent very small spaces can come out here and use these bigger areas for meetings," said Harrington.

Cornthwaite describes an urban environment that is vibrant, unique, local and very un-corporate.

"There's plenty of malls out there with the same chain stores and restaurants and that's fine, but everything down here will be unique and owner-operated," he said.

The building is actually owned by the El Cortez, which has thrown its full support behind Emergency Arts and the effort to bring more energy and foot traffic downtown.

The grand opening is set for April with plans to bring in another 20 tenants to fill up the second floor later this year.

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