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Las Vegas Cultural Renaissance Episode 00

You want to be entertained.  Las Vegas wants to entertain you.  

Entertainment is a fundamental part of Las Vegas’ cultural DNA.  Everyday and every night, shows, events, festivals, pop-ups, and meet ups decorate streets and venues all over the city. There is a lot to see in this fair city, and we’re not just talking about the events that pepper the famous Las Vegas strip.

It is important to know that Las Vegas has a local creative culture that is inclusive, entertaining, and increasingly diverse.  Painters, muralists, clothing brands, vocal artists, producers, DJs, crafters, pod-casters, streamers, photographers, videographers, the list goes on. This is important to know because you have to explore art and creativity in order to live a life filled with meaning.

You want to be entertained. Local Las Vegas knows how to entertain you.

The ArtHaven team is all about discovering art and artists.  We want to support our creative community and experience the joy of living a life filled with beauty. We want you along for the journey so that you can experience the excitement of being part of a profoundly unique creative movement.

We were new, innocent maybe, in our last series where we took our best guess, and journeyed through Las Vegas to get a lay of the creative land. We’re no longer new, and our innocence is a topic best left for a different blog series. Don’t worry about it. We’ve met some folks, taken a few pictures, hung out, and carried equipment.  We’re ready to share our experiences with you.

This series will reveal to you the hidden gems of Las Vegas, the power of exploring art, and the importance of showing up for your community. Caution!  This series contains 100% Las Vegas culture. This isn’t the club scene. We won’t be going to the strip. 

Welcome to Las Vegas Renaissance!

Support the ArtHaven Mission!

We work for creatives for free.  It is our goal to always work for free, and we can do that with your support. Check out our 1-click, no cost support link here.

About the Pictures

The pictures in this post were taken in the iconic Las Vegas Arts District in early 2019, learn more here.

Explore Art?

How and where do you explore art? Let us know in the comments below, or maybe just let us know how we can do better.

Thank you for showing up! Check back soon, Las Vegas Cultural Renaissance Episode 1 coming soon!

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Art Adventures – Episode 01

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Be sure to read the Art Adventures Intro first!

Do you like bunnies and birds? Chickadees and pastels? How about Jesus, springtime, and resurrection?

Welcome to Easter Royale.

Belagio CeilingIt’s a confusing holiday, which means it’s the perfect occasion for discovering art.

Our spirits were aroused, and we were curious to know how Las Vegas chose to hold this day. Which of our dear city’s many bubbles of reality would house an Easter Sunday?  Would we experience judgment for seeking salvation within artificial structures?

We awoke in a lucid dream, heat pouring through the small crack in our car window. The clamor of car horns, and the smell of melting asphalt cascaded through the air in rippling waves as we awkwardly danced in staccato to the careless blinking of brake lights.  The people were out and all around.  They followed us, surrounded us, carried us to the Las Vegas strip and to the famed hotel and casino, Bellagio.

We exited our car disoriented, our disposition slightly maligned by the swarming hordes of humans.  The Bellagio parking lot was a brief relief from the screaming afternoon traffic, and we shared a sour smile as we stretched our legs.

“Are you ready to go inside” my dry voice cracked?

“I’m ready, I think,” she replied.

“It’s going to be a madhouse in there… Before we go in, eat this,” I handed my companion a small piece of bread.  I took a small piece for myself and we chewed in silence.  She sipped from a bottle of white grape juice and then handed it to me.  The juice briefly sparkled a light crystal color in my eye; I exhaled and sipped it down, feeling the sugar coarse through my blood.

Entrance FlorOur dreaming bodies were pushed through the casino’s caves and meandering alleyways of slot machines,high-end retail stores, restaurants, and ersatz statues.  We were chasing salvation from the oppression of knowing we were but an insignificant part of a larger mob.  ‘Why’ echoed in our heads. We pressed forward.

We wanted to know, to feel, that our daily existence is unique, that our lives are not just mirrors for the groups of drooping faces we were passing.  We wanted to connect with a passion deep within ourselves.

Vagrants, perfume assassins, false signs, flyer bandits crowded all around us, crippling our inner-desire to push farther toward our destination. We had unknowingly engaged in a war with the unbeatable enemy that is the ever present throng loitering in every Las Vegas hotel and casino.   

Then, in the distance, past a milling gauntlet of spatially inept Homo sapiens, we saw it.  A far-off glimmer of natural light spilled into the casino, a beacon of truth cutting through oppressive darkness.

Each spring, summer, fall, and winter the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Garden, a 14,000 square foot Room with a 50 foot tall glass ceiling, is transformed by a number of talented horticulturalists and designers into a breathtaking floral display. The 2016 spring display featured a Japanese theme with shrubs, Ivy, azaleas, begonias, hibiscus, cherry blossom trees Magnolia trees camphor trees, ficus, bamboo, and  over 80 thousand flowers in total.

“This is not reality, but the dream is real now that we’re here, let’s forget to remember we are in the Bellagio. In Las Vegas,” I whispered to my weary comrade.

“I’ve been here before…” she breathed.

We awoke from our shared dream into a world filled with argent representations of nature’s most colloquial harbingers of zest and revival.

Giant FlorWe breathed in a hesitant sigh of relief, and began unpacking our gear.  Japanese flute music played over hidden speakers, the bubbling sound of falling water could be heard with a strained ear, and among the large pools of families, selfie-hungry tourists, and crying children, there were sharp moments where the floral displays could be appreciated.
Renewal washed over us.

Thank you for reading. Part 2 >

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Art Adventures – Episode 02

Title Header 02On that fateful Easter Sunday, in the Bellagio’s Atrium, we had only begun our contemplative journey, our internalization of the grand artistic display swimming around us.  Fresh from our resurrection, we stood ready to dive deep into the meticulously arranged prana.

One word echoed in my head. Escape. There is something mysteriously alluring about escaping the anywhere but here, the anytime but now.

White CraneOur lives are grand, our riches vast, and yet still, we seek something outside of ourselves.  We search for realities and experience that speak directly to our complex neural cortices and stimulate our reticular activation systems.  Our eyes bright with fervent longing, we divorce ourselves from the moment, from nature, and from one another to bail headlong into the matrix.  

What was the Bellagio trying to tell us with their grand floral display?

We stepped into the brightly sun-lit atrium, and our senses were immediately assailed with combinations of colors more complex than mathematics describing the interstellar orbital mosaics of planets. It was dizzying.  

The power of the moment, an abrupt transition from crowded Las Vegas casino to crowded engineered garden, was all present.  Our brains denied the sudden tectonic shift in awareness causing our bodies to stand frozen as they scrambled to reconcile how our internal and external worlds would engage.

The world before us, centered in the heart of the Las Vegas ‘strip,’ stood surreal,  a giant bloom of fragrant color that was both an abstract, cartoon-like interpretation of the natural world, and a quick glimpse into the psyche of humanity’s collective desire to continually manifest an unreality.  

Transplanted flowers, life-sized plastic trees, ridiculously large floral representations of birds and turtles with lifeless stares, real live koi fish, and all inside a casino, in a desert…. We have expected to see Alice and the Mad Hatter sitting next to us.

TurtleIndeed, the city of Las Vegas itself could easily stand as tribute to this somewhat amorphous concept, a melting point for where our dreams mix with concrete and dust. The feeling of being close to such contrived nature was that of instant amusement and appreciation for the artists.

We crept toward the floral displays with our cameras in hand, ducking the extended selfie-handed taller patrons, and dodging jubilant young ones that darted around, a peripheral chaos of humans falling around us in waves of confetti.  The struggle to capture the awesomeness of the micro and macro illusions unique to this display stirred an undercurrent of discontent.  We wanted the perfect shot, we wanted to connect, we wanted to be fully enveloped in the power of the art, but the milling masses pulled and tugged at our animal brain. The potential for total immersion suffered an odd death at the hands of a thousand innocent leaky faucets.

There is this phenomenon that is the power of a shared experience, and where strangers will greet each other with silent gazes and expressions that wordlessly exclaim, “Did you see that!?”  We look for affirmation of our own amazement in the eyes of anyone reeling from the same experience.  Perhaps there were those in the crowd that were reeling, and as for us, we felt overwhelmingly in-the-way.  Our young, eager selves were not quite tall enough to peer over the crowd to see the beauty beyond but for more than an instant.  

Bird TreeWe jumped, we ducked, we used our elbows, and we glimpsed the matrix.  Escape proved elusive in the Bellagio’s Garden that day, though we left the atrium with an assured feeling that there remained a healthy portion of untasted appreciation between artist and artee.  Perhaps we would return some other time….

Have you ever felt divorced from the moment?  What did that feel like?  What brought you back? Share your thoughts below, or maybe just let us know how we can do better.
Thank you for reading. Episode 3 »

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Art Adventures Episode 03

Title Header 03Do you seek out space? How do you create space, and what do you do when you have it?

We all need space.  Space to breathe, space to discover what we want, who we are, space to be, and space to grow.  

MBMWe trekked out on a smoldering Las Vegas summer day to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to find answers.  In the center of the desert town’s most prestigious academic institution we found refuge from the oppressive heat in the Marjorie Barrick Museum.

Immediate relief washed over us as we entered the cool aired gallery.  Slowly we drank in the atmosphere; white walls, an empty reception desk, information pamphlets, and an odd knee-high installation that featured an eclectic mix of random items gathered in the colors and shape of a rainbow.  Behind that display was a quote by Keith Haring:

Art… should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination, and encourages people to go further.

KeithThat seemed right, though that wasn’t exactly the truth we were after.  We ventured further inside and around… the museum was strangely empty, and there was rhythmic thumping, a record skipping over itself, making a course scratching sound coming from somewhere inside the museum’s small indoor theater space.

Upon reflection, the whole scene was a little eerie, and the gallery felt as many galleries often do, quiet, fragile.  Had the hour been later and the wind howling, this tale would surely be one of ghosts and spirits.

We peered inside the small theater; the seats completely empty, the projector on and proudly showing a standard Windows desktop.  The scratching sound played all around in a clashing of muffled ambient noise.

We found the attendant; she was alone in a dimly lit office deeply staring into a computer’s web portal.  The theater of mysterious sounds, it turns out, was running through a series of short videos, the last of which was a piece by Lucky DeBellevue, which turned out to be an 81 minute accidental pocket video titled ‘Sahara.’

We asked the attendant if she would restart the video for us, and she very happily agreed.  We shuffled into the empty theater, sat down and made ourselves comfortable.

Not two minutes into the video, we found our gazes wandering and our minds clamoring for stimulation.  Have you ever been ‘butt dialed?’  Many of us can relate to that experience; your phone buzzes, you look at the caller ID and see that you are getting a call from an unexpected loved one!  

You excitedly answer only to hear a static-like crunching sound and the echo of your own voice dumbly repeat, ‘Hello?.. hello?… are you there?’  For a brief moment you are excited about the possible connection, followed by the moment where your consciousness floats in a curious limbo, then mild frustration followed by inevitable resignation.

Lucky’s piece felt sort of like that except the accidental filming of the inside of his pocket was not directed at any audience in particular.  In the self-description of his work, Lucky remarks that the piece is somewhat a mystery to him and that he views it as a test of endurance because ‘there are stretches in the video where not much happens, and what does happen is not a lot.’

As concise descriptions go, Lucky could not have said it better, and this was indeed a test of endurance… like hanging on the line, waiting in an ever-deepening anticipation for the ‘butt dialer’ to pick up.

The feeling of being an active recipient of an errant and empty call is sobering, and we found ourselves awkwardly smiling  from the shared experience of being helpless riders on a journey to somewhere not even the driver knew; the theater was the pocket, and we were the phone.

The earth shattering absence of stimulation left us longing for release into the cool and calming waters of our smart phones, and in all honesty, we dove in with tremendous abandon.  Reading emails, tweets, and Facebook posts never felt so good.

That’s a difficult admission, though we are quick to acknowledge our shortcomings for the sake of being genuine, and the irony of succumbing to our social media addiction whilst exploring what happens when we actively seek a space away from it, is not lost.

We struggled.  The entire 81 minutes was more than a test of endurance, it was an excruciating conversation about our diminishing capacity to sustain a controlled silence.  There were moments when we were comfortable, and there were moments when we were uneasy.  We knew why we were there (exploration), we knew what we were supposed to do (listen), we just didn’t know how to do it (???)!

Really, the retelling of this adventure isn’t intended as a complex metaphor for the ever steepening divide between our spiritual and mental selves, we all see the dopamine devil in our phones. Rather, the intention here is to lightly belabor a point about the power of open space until the telling becomes its own art.  

Of course, art for art’s sake can leave us feeling a little bewildered, and we are constantly calling out for something tangible, something actionable.  Stay with us for a couple more words and let’s dive an eyelash length deeper.

Whether you believe for yourself that you are a creator, or you believe that you are not, you need space in life.  If you are seeking space, either physical or mental, that is your subconscious kindly asking you to pause for a moment from your normal routine to explore an unknown, create a solution to a problem you’ve been dealing with, create something new.  

capsuleThe space you choose is wholly your own.  Sometimes it’s a physical space like a library, your bedroom, a festival or a concert.  Sometimes the space is mental, like when you meditate, or sing in the shower.  Sometimes it’s that soft nap at your desk after a heavy lunch.

Take a moment to think of where your spaces are.  

This is where you can be vulnerable with yourself, intimate with your thoughts. This is where you can spread your arms and breathe.  If you feel a sharp release, a snap, don’t be alarmed, you’re awakening the artist inside.  When you choose to honor the internal call for space, you choose to grow. Thanks Lucky.

Now that there’s so much room for activities, it’s time to play!

Where are your sacred spaces?  Where do you go to create solutions? Share your thoughts below, or maybe just let us know how we can do better.

Thank you for reading. Episode 4 »

Find Lucky

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Art Adventures Episode 04

Title Header 04Are you indulging your creative aspirations?  

If you read our last adventure, then you’ll remember the importance of having a sacred space where your creative aspirations can unfold.  The question remains however, what are we supposed to do once we find this space, and more importantly how do we turn the alluring chaotic thoughts inside our heads into art?  

Las Vegas is hiding gems.  Deep in old downtown is the Art District where there are people dedicated to their craft, living their art and sharing their works.  Every day they sculpt, paint, and put on display their unique visions of the world.  We can call them gems because they reflect light from a side of life so many of us silently crave. A life filled with deep purpose.

18b b81The Las Vegas Arts District hosts a street fair and festival every first Friday of every month.  If you say ‘art’ in Las Vegas, someone will invariably say, ‘Have you been out to First Friday?”  

We set out to see what all the fuss was about, and over the span of many months, we went out to the First Friday event to see the art and talk with the artists in a gallant attempt to find out how they do it.

The crowd was thin and young, then the crowd was thick and rowdy.  Each time we went, the longest line was the line for deep fried candy bars.  The atmosphere buzzed a hymn of release that only a Friday can hold, and even though there were whispers about how First Friday has turned into just another foody fair, it’s not true.  We’ve been to those, and the First Friday festival is something else… with food.

There are actually a lot of food trucks, and a lot of live music, and a lot of kids, couples, and beloved dogs (we may have also seen a pet snake or two). The artists themselves are weaved through and around these more classical elements, pulsing veins of creativity breathing life into the crowd.  

It doesn’t stop there, and there is even more magic that emanates from the surrounding buildings.  There are gigantic murals, graffiti, and in true Las Vegas fashion, glorious neon on the outside of the buildings.

neon candyInside those buildings there are small rooms, universes, filled with pure, color-filled imagination.  Tight hallways.  The smell of street food mixed with the smell of fresh paint and crafting materials.  There are numerous nooks and odd walls that make it easy to walk in circles, which is both pleasurable and confounding at the same time.  

You will connect with art at First Friday.  There will be something there that delights or tickles you in a particular way.   A majority of you probably won’t purchase this delight, bring it home and set it on display, but you’ll share a moment in time with someone else’s creation.  In this small stretch of time we hope you feel a stirring in your mind, a biting sense that you have yet unexplored depths of thought.

special event aheadWe love the art, but we went to connect with the artists.  We wanted to know how they did what they did because we believe that there is something unique about the temperament of a dedicated artist. We believe that they have within them an inner compulsion to work out the calamity of their existence through their craft.

In speaking with many of the Art District’s resident artists, and the many other artists bravely holding down their tents while the heat swelled, the winds howled, and the cold snapped, we discovered an interesting thread of thought that inspired this episode.

Become again a child and play with the fabric of your ideas.

It sounded exceedingly easy. Almost too easy.  What did they mean, play?

You’ve got your sacred space, room to explore, and now, to create your dream, you’re going to let it all out, anything goes.  In playing you can express your thoughts with the same freedom of imagination possessed by a five-year old that believes themself a superhero, or a frost queen.

Somewhere, between the emotionally elastic experience of pointed thought and total frivolity, you discover the expression of your dream.  Maybe it’s not an exact reflection of your original thought, but it’s real, even more real than the specter of your initial intent.  We’ve all had that perfect image in our head only to draw it out and see something completely different.  That’s ok.  That’s art.

The tale here is that in the same moment where we were experiencing the festival, we felt connected to the art.  Walking up to an artist to hear their story, linger in their studio, see the materials of their labor and their discarded, half-used canvases, is serene.  Seeing an artist standing next to their work and hugging their arms tight to their chest in a futile attempt to ward off the cold, awakens the idea that art is a journey.

Afterward our minds wandered a bit.  Why did we have such a great time at this festival?

Art craves an audience.  The Audience craves connection.

less than 3Our desire to see, to understand the people we know and choose to follow has been amplified by the increasingly wondrous capabilities of communication technology.  Mostly, it is difficult to feel a connection when we cannot experience the story.

We have a longing to know the story of art’s becoming.  We want to see the artists in their natural habitat, to see them create, fail, scrap what may otherwise be considered a masterpiece.  We want to see them play because that’s how it’s done.  

The First Friday festival offers a glimpse into the story of many artists. Go there. Talk to them.  Experience the art.

Are you carving a space in your life where you are allowed to play with an idea?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts, or maybe just let us know how we can do better.

Thank you for reading. Episode 5 »

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Art Adventures Episode 05

Title Header 05We have all at one time suffered at the hands of procrastination.  A tardy bill gone late fee, a litter box gone toxic, and for most of us, a childhood dream turned dust by the daily grind.  

There is a constant struggle in our minds between the idea of our perfect future and the work we have to do now to get us there.  The fantasy is ecstasy, a forever dream where we can be our perfect selves. We imagine ourselves rich, popular… happy. The work is hard, starting is hard, and every step in a direction toward a dream is a step toward more work and the vast unknown.

The ego is fragile. Starting something new is scary.  You may be judged unfavorably. You might fail. The procrastination wheel keeps spinning and your dreams, your art keeps waiting. Days, years, lifetimes all passing by in an ever steepening blur.

MoreArtsFactoryHere’s a cold truth.  Your art cannot wait.  Your spirit and the world are waiting for you to make manifest your unique perspective of what our species can do.  Your creative expressions must be shared.  Show us what you’ve got!

It is commonly felt that art cannot be forced, that it must flow naturally from play in a sacred space, and there is not one artist among the many with whom we’ve spoken that would deny the strength of this sentiment, but there is more to it.

After you have shaped and polished your idea into reality, you have to release it from the warm and comfortable place of its genesis unto the world.  Your creation becomes art in its release to a larger audience.  

As an artist, releasing your work for the world to see, you will experience an inescapable feeling of deep vulnerability.  Not everyone will vibe with you.  Not everyone will like what you have to say or show.  That’s ok. Show more people.

As an artist, you will experience an odd feeling of immortality.  You’ve taken your idea, your dream, and you’ve released it to the world.  The feeling of having contributed to the vast multiverse of ideas can never be taken away from you.  

Breath that in, and go make more art.

We traversed all over Las Vegas seeking out art galleries.  This adventure, unlike some of our others, took us to many different places across many scattered days; here are some of those places: University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery and Barrick Art Museum, the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA), The Jeff Mitchum Gallery, and other established galleries along the row shops in front of the Aria resort and casino, Emergency Arts (sadly, now closed), and Sin City Gallery inside the Art Square.  

ArtOMatLas Vegas is perhaps, for most, little known as a place where you might think to find a happening art scene, and it’s true that many places that have dedicated their space to the arts have found themselves too quickly boarding up their windows and barring their doors, but as you might imagine, the art survives and thrives because where there are people, there is art.  

The Las Vegas art scene has been described to be in its infancy, but is nevertheless pervasive and a part of the history and culture of this globally renowned city.  Indeed, you may not notice that you are walking by the works of world famous historic and contemporary artists as you meander through the Aria. You might not know that you can go to the Loius Vuitton shop and ask to be put on a waiting list to see their private collection of fine art.  You may have even mistook a large commissioned mural for common street art, but don’t be fooled; Las Vegas has art!

We walked and gazed, acting as empty vessels absorbing eclectic beauty of artists old and new.  The art hung, stood, and sometimes even danced in quiet air, and under carefully arranged lighting.  Our vision was filled with short biographies about distant, and sometimes long past artists.  Names, ages, locations.  

GalleryRowSome works featured delicately stated verses alongside the materials used: innovation as the hallmark of creation, clay, rhythm-strokes simulating spontaneous moments, mixed media, simple, honest and at times, idyllic, oil on canvas.  We felt that the art galleries’ flavor of attention, unlike the earthy flavor of attention found at the first Friday festival, poignantly emphasized a more acute aspect of complex work products.

The work that hung in the galleries was often selected, curated to tell a story.  A story about “the divide between town and country” during the late 19th century, or a story about the oddities of “history” as a means of recording the past.  We want to take a moment to honor the curators themselves for their hard work in delicately choosing pieces that weave together artistic representations of ideas that can be easily viewed as larger than the ideas of the individual works themselves.  Thank you for hand picking the trees to show us the forest.  Truly, our heads swam with wonderment as we experienced the unique beauty of listening to a story told through art.

EArtsWe dove deep with this adventure.  Every time we finished with one gallery, we wanted to rush off to the next because we recognized that each gallery held rich works that were simultaneously portals into the distinctive views of individuals, and representations of our local and global culture.  

A message sang out to us through the timeless aether; Your art cannot wait.  Live your art so that your art may live. Share it with the world.

Are you creating unique works and holding them back from the world?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below, or maybe just let us know how we can do better.

Thank you for reading. Episode 6 »

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Art Adventures Episode 06

Title Header 06Our previous adventures have mostly leaned toward exploring the visual arts, and not as much toward performing arts, music, etc. but we felt absolutely compelled to attend this annual event that is unique to Las Vegas and in celebration of ‘the arts’ overall.

It is a wonderful event.  We were able to see numerous celebrated artists, experience large mural street art and large sculpted art installations all while listening to some of our favorite performers and eating delicious food.

LiBRobotFor the many that may not know what the Life is Beautiful festival is about, we’ll give you a quick rundown.  It is a three day event that extends well into the late night.  It spans eighteen square blocks in the old downtown Las Vegas, also loosely known as Fremont St., which also happens to be near the Art District.  For three days and three nights the  streets are filled with people from all over walking to and from different stages where well known musical artists perform, trekking between awkwardly large and colorful art installations, sauntering in and out of bars and art galleries alike, and maybe even stopping to listen to intriguing panel discussions about the future of our culture.  People doing what people do best; eating, drinking, and making merry.  

The festival is for all ages, as all good festivals are, and everyone parties past their bedtimes. The atmosphere, day or night, is a smoky bonfire of great vibes, mixing what Vegas is known for, epic parties, and a little something that our sweet town is cultivating, artistic talent and intrigue.

animuralAAIn previous adventures we had occasion to talk to artists about their thoughts and feelings on the Las Vegas art scene.  For many, the story is a bleak one, and Las Vegas is not the place to be an artist.  Las Vegas is branded and known as a place for uninhibited tomfoolery and not so much a place where people go to experience and talk about the high culture of art….

For others, there was an acknowledgment of the small and budding nature of the art scene.  The nod to the humble scene was spoken with enthusiasm, a small glint of the eye reflecting excitement about being part of a growing movement, or maybe reflecting a more quiet sense of having a home where external social pressures are more murmurs than possible career death knells.

CatRabbitThe draw of this internationally known party city is at times unreal.  Hordes of people from every corner of the world spilling in continuous waves, breaking on the shores of ‘the strip’ to cut loose, and every day this city works hard to maintain an image of luxury so that people know they can cut loose in style.  

The obvious appeal of the city that sets it apart from most is the gamble, chance.  The prospect of winning big and building castles in the sky is part of at least one fantasy held by nearly every human in this world.  Las Vegas has temples built in honor of this blatantly observable human condition.

People though, are more complex, and after a time they will seek something with more depth and satisfaction than the fleeting high of a bouncing white marble settling closer to a thin painted red or black stripe. The point is, that for many, there needs to be something more brilliant and colorful in their lives.  On some level Las Vegas also recognizes this about our collective humanity and seeks to deliver in a big way.  Las Vegas says, ‘Let’s not just talk about art, let’s party about art because Life is Beautiful!”  Then, Las Vegas delivers.

LiBisMeSurely it’s true that some artists seek an established community with deep historical roots and a long A-list of big fish, while others seek calmer waters.  What remains is that any place is what you paint it to be, and Las Vegas is ripe with opportunity on many levels. Good or bad, thriving or sputtering, the art scene and community in Las Vegas is tangible. Real people, real depth of spirit, real art.

Let your mind wonder with these thoughts for a moment before reading on.

We have yet to dig into Las Vegas’ art history.  Our adventures were brief and delicately superficial in a lot of ways.  This shines true in the conclusions made in our episodic recounting, the gaps in our thoughts and broken imagery.  We don’t deny that we are likely to have gotten some things wrong.  We wanted to go more places, stay longer, learn more, see more, see into more. Write more engaging pieces.

We’re just getting started.  We’re going to go more places and talk to more people. Create more engaging works.  We want you to come with us. We want you to tell us how we can do better.  We want to hear your stories.  Together we’re going to go deep because we are, and forever will be, adventurers.

Thank you for showing up and reading ArtHaven’s original Blog Mini Series, “Art Adventures.”

We’re small, but we’re dedicated. Follow us on Instagram @theartisthaven.

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Art Adventures Episode 00


These folks are great people.  Check them out on Instagram.

They may or may not reflect the views discussed in these musings.


@g21mm, @jocelynjenkins, @kian_music, @ikonic_arts

Ashley! Marcus!

Shout Outs

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AA Intro 01What does it mean to actively seek a life filled with meaning?

In our hearts we hold many silences.  Too often we do not connect with one another, holding secret our feelings and emotions.  Too often we do not seek to connect with nature and take our bodies into the outside world.  Too often we deny ourselves new experiences, sacrificing new knowledge for the comfort of familiarity.  

Still, there exists in every one of us a deep seated desire to explore the unknown, and reaffirm our own existence by throwing our weak and impressionable selves against external forces. We are, and forever will be, adventurers.

There are many ways that we choose to express our adventurous spirits.  We dedicate our lives to family, career, community, religion, and for a lucky few, our passions.  We strive to bring meaning into one another’s lives. Though we often find ourselves dwelling, and finding satisfaction in the warm pool of daily routine, we cannot deny an inner fear of living an ordinary life. Our adventurous selves crave validation, meaning, and self-expression.

How do we self-express, and what brings meaning into our lives? What keeps the fear of an ordinary life at bay?  Our lives are formed by imagination, where we reshape the past and dream the future.  We are both individually and collectively, artists. We are continuously painting the world in the powerful and intimate colors of our will.

In those moments when we are drowned by monotony, immersion in art saves us and we are reminded of our ability to breathe life into the part of our identity that defies categorization.  We become something new, something dreamed.

The Artist, the Dreamer, and the Star; we three are the ArtHaven team. Each of us seeks something different, each of us seeks knowledge beyond our consciousness, and each of us carries our uniquely sharp perspective like a loaded weapon.  We are discerning narrators of ‘reality,’ and we are alive.

Join the ArtHaven team as we explore the Las Vegas art scene and try to uncover a hidden dimension of this bejeweled city.  The Art Adventures blog series features visceral and emotional stories about our outings into the art community where we encounter complex displays of personal and group expression in an attempt to keep our souls free of the pervasive desert dust.

Share your ideas with us in the comments section below.  What adventures have brought meaning into your life?  How do you experience art?  Where would you like to see us go?

Read Episode 1 »

phone call

No More Starving Artists! – Stage 1


Thank you for showing up, and welcome to ArtHaven’s flagship art initiative, the ‘No More Starving Artists’ Movement.  This is our forever art, our never ending opus.

This is an extended thought piece where it is our goal to provide you with an aesthetic experience that is catered to your silent dreams and undiscovered aspirations.

Language. Images. Growth.  Life.

What’s the idea?

The idea here is to create momentum toward being comfortable with what for many is likely an uncomfortable idea.

We believe everyone holds within themselves the capacity to create something new, something beautiful.  We believe that when you choose to share that creativity with the world, you become an artist.  Moreover, we believe that any artist striving for success in their craft will achieve success in their life. The trick is believing that you’re an artist in the first place, and go from there.

We can’t tell you you’re an artist.  You have to tell yourself. That’s what’s tough. Many of you won’t believe us when we say you’re a capable artist, and yes,

we are talking to you.

This is going to be difficult

Right now we’re just starting out.  Our tribe is small. We envision this piece as occurring in stages.  This is stage one.  We’re not sure where this will take us, and we’re doubly unsure if it will work.  

This is going to be difficult because the idea wheel in our collective heads is innocently spinning in the wrong direction.  There is a plague of thought that says starving is what artists do best. This thought is dangerously comfortable because it means you don’t have to try, you don’t have to put yourself out into the world. You can be safe.

We want to show you that there is a life beyond safe, that there’s something better, and you won’t starve.

When we say this to you, you can feel the truth in the words. You may not know exactly why you feel this way, but it is now a gift in your mind that can be opened.

We want to share this journey with you.  We are excited for you to share your journey with us.

Say it with us, ‘No More Starving Artists!’

What’s going on here?

This is the easy part.  For right now you can contribute your thoughts on the following, or read what other’s say:

Why are you, or why are you not an artist?

Send us your thoughts in the section below where we will post them here for all to read, or send an email to where we will hold your thoughts in our vaults of deep contemplation until it is time for them to be released unto the world.

We expect that you will go largely astray, off-topic, and we encourage you to stay with the question, but don’t hold back.  Maybe just tell us how we can do better.

Be honest with us, be honest with yourself.