Lea Catania dances out of a barrel at Small Space Fest. Screen shot from IPhoto video: Paint This Desert.
Offer the local art loving public an aberrant variety of alternative performance and installations, mix it with solid contemporary art on walls, then use small rooms for interactive happenstance, and you have an experience with a Las Vegas aesthetic; an eccentric buffet that has something for everyone.
Small Space Fest at Emergency Arts worked. The underground Facebook buzz from those who went are sending kudos to organizers Elizabeth Colon Nelson, Heidi Rider and Adriana Chavez, who worked off the theatrical environment of Emergency Arts and played it like a theatrical space, not just a placeholder for galleries. They threaded the rooms and hallways with wisely curated moments.
After reading the pitch from PR materials, and having a short chat with Rider, I suggested Weft in the Weave Collective’s SmallSpaceFest was working toward being a micro-version of an Allan Kaprow-like Art Happening. The collective reached their hype. (It did not hurt to have an organized event indoors when the lows are reaching record highs).
While one attendee said it was the best event they experienced since Art Basel 2013, I won't make that claim. Small Space Fest did, however, demonstrate what an art walk-like event could be. It was immersive, experimental, and innovative, yet accessible. It was avant-garde light. It was cool inside.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.