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Family heals through creativity

Art often can bring together people from throughout the world, especially those concentrated in one community.

For the owners of Inklings Art Gallery in Emergency Arts, 520 Fremont St ., they aim to use art not only to bring together the Las Vegas community but also their own family .

Lydia Wiltse, along with her daughters Yvonne and Christian Wiltse and her sister Stephanie Jordan, opened Inklings Art Gallery in January. When Mary Jo Sanchez, mother of Lydia and Stephanie and grandmother of Yvonne and Christian, died in November, the women decided to open an art gallery as a way to unite their family.

"When my grandmother passed away, it was rough on everyone," Yvonne Wiltse said. "I decided to start on a project to move into a positive direction, and my mom, aunt and sister hopped on board."

Jordan said every member of the large family possesses at least one creative quality, be it art, writing, photography or something else. The creativity, she said, is what fosters close relationships among all family members.

"We're all very, very close," Jordan said. "We write music together, we draw together Whatever our parents did at the beginning, it worked."

Lydia Wiltse, for example, is a photography instructor at the College of Southern Nevada whose photographs are displayed in the gallery's small space for its February exhibit, which is based on showcasing artwork from friends and family.

The photographs feature objects and landscapes taken throughout southwestern parts of the country, which Lydia Wiltse said depicts places she has lived or visited. Paintings from Christian Wiltse also are on display, and Lydia Wiltse said she plans to feature welding and leatherwork from her brothers .

Although the gallery showcases work from the family, Yvonne Wiltse said it exists to include people from throughout the valley.

"Everybody is welcome here," Yvonne Wiltse said. "Everyone should get involved. (Inklings) encourages people to bond and create good things."

The family plans to have a different theme each month, with March's concept already in mind. Next month's theme is based on "mini March," in which all works will be displayed on a 5-inch-by-7-inch canvas. The owners also plan to raffle some of the artwork at the end of every month.

Lydia Wiltse hopes what is displayed on Inklings Art Gallery's walls each month serves as a testament to fostering a community not only downtown but throughout the valley.

"I think (Inklings) gives so many different kinds of art expressions," Lydia Wiltse said. "The idea is to show how images and words promote healing for people. It's geared to get them to stop and think about things differently."

Inklings Art Gallery is open during Emergency Arts co-op hours, but its owners are at the gallery from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. For more information, visit

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Lisa Carter at or 383-4686.