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Southern Nevada Arts Community Lauded As 'Culture Producers'

Justin Favela/Instagram

Las Vegas artists Justin Favela not only creates art, he also promotes culture in Southern Nevada as a podcaster, activist, and museum curator.

A national expert on how art shapes communities says Las Vegas artists are among the most active in the country.

Minneapolis artist and author Sharon Louden will be a featured panelist Monday during a discussion at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art.

Her book, “The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life,” provided the name and inspiration for the forum.

“I think what makes Las Vegas special is that it doesn’t have the commercial infrastructure that say New York or Los Angeles has; however, artists are still working," she said.

Louden said because there is not as much cultural and artistic "infrastructure" in Las Vegas, artists must push to do it more than other cities with bigger art markets.

Louden said Las Vegas artists work and then push their work out to other communities, “I think that there is a certain energy there because of that. That is great replicate in other communities all over the country.”

She described 'cultural producers' as people who "create bridges for productivity and economic growth into the public realm." 

The event aims to showcase the contributions artists can make outside of their studios. Several prominent Southern Nevada artists will discuss how they are taking on roles as community advocates and activists along with creating art.

Alisha Kerlin is heading the panel. She is an artist and she works at the Barrick Museum of Art. 

Kerlin works with all the people who come to the museum from school kids to college students. To her, that is part of her effort to bring culture to the city. 

She said she used to believe she wore multiple hats to do all the work that she does in the community and create art, but now she believes it is all from one energy. 

“[Those] artists are actually contributing to the community and making the work and doing this all at the same time from the same energy," she said.

Alisha Kerlin, UNLV's Barrick Museum of Art; Sharon Louden, artist and author

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With deep experience in journalism, politics, and the nonprofit sector, news producer Doug Puppel has built strong connections statewide that benefit the Nevada Public Radio audience.