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Gaming Guru

Mary Manning

Southern Nevada arts center moves downtown

26 January 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- For Las Vegas residents and visitors hungry to sample local art, the Southern Nevada Center for the Arts opened this weekend on the second floor of the Neonopolis at 450 Fremont St.

Everything from painting to fabric to live demonstrations of pottery makers, painters and multimedia artisans attracted hundreds of people Friday, Saturday and Sunday as Neonopolis came alive in a warm and windless atmosphere.

The Nevada Clay Guild offered live demonstrations by Brian Ayriss, who spent about 15 minutes taking a clump of wet clay about the size of a softball, spinning it on a potter's wheel and turning the lump into a vase. He sat at the side of a hallway, where those strolling through the center could find some surprises and see artists at work.

Denise Duarte of D'Arte Designs displayed her sculptures and sculpted tiles, while Ruth Hunter a few doors down, had created wraps, shawls, purses and other vintage-looking clothing from her own designs.

Terry Ritter was surrounded by her showgirl paintings to keep the memory of a Las Vegas icon -- the feathered and sequined dancers so popular in the 1950s -- alive into the 21st century.

Women artists will speak their minds in films running continuously at the center this weekend in a feature called "Women of Diversity." When Women of Diversity Productions relocated to Las Vegas from Texas in 1998, the focus was on video production, seminars and special events to give visibility to women's roles in history and their achievements. In 2005, "100 Years of Influence, the Role of Women in Shaping the First Hundred Years of Las Vegas" was exhibited at the Las Vegas Art Museum from March through May 2006, then went to various libraries in Las Vegas.

The Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art, next door to the center for the arts, debuted Revealing Women Redux, a display of the paintings of Susanne Forestieri and the sculpture of Roberta Baskin Shefrin. The show runs through March 25.

Lynn and David Jones run the museum to help raise public awareness for the fine arts available in Las Vegas.