Fall is in the air, and that means it’s time for the next Trails Village Center ArtWalk.
The event is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 2 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3 at Trails Village Center, 1970 Village Center Circle, and will mark the 15th anniversary. ArtWalk is a celebration of artwork, fine crafts and the Kids’ Art Park.
The festival brings together notable artisans from Southern Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.
Founder Mark Vranesh said that when he first conceived the idea, “Summerlin was very new, and things were just starting to happen there. I saw this as being an outdoor arts and crafts festival. Because I’ve been doing this myself, traveling to art shows, it’s going on 35 years, a lot of my artist friends from California and Arizona wanted to explore the Las Vegas market. Up to that point, there was really only one show, and that was the Boulder City (Art in the Park). Everybody did that, so this was kind of a new venture, more of a boutique kind of show.”
Art categories include painting, mixed media, sculpture, fiber, jewelry and glass and unique crafts. Vibhas Kendzia, a musician from Sedona, Ariz., is set to entertain throughout the weekend near the Starbucks patio. Vranesh plans to have his own booth with his mostly Southwest-inspired art. He holds the distinction of having been on QVC, selling more than 400 of his petroglyph gourd vessels in seven minutes.
The first two years of ArtWalk’s existence, about 60 visiting artists participated.
“Las Vegas was a harder sell (to artists) in many ways back then,” Vranesh said. “Fifteen or 20 years ago, people didn’t think of Las Vegas as having the cultural climate that it has today. … But it was a hit from the onset.”
After those fledgling years, there have always been 75 to 80 artists included, allowing for a good variety. Vranesh said the shopping center’s support has been unwavering.
Sandy Ray has managed the Trails Village Center since ArtWalk’s conception. She said when it was first proposed to the center’s owners, “it was very well-received. They were very excited right from the get-go … It’s a great marketing opportunity that they (stores) don’t have to pay for.”
Tenants also welcomed the event. At first, some shop owners expected huge numbers to swell their business during the ArtWalk, Ray said.
“Sometimes people would say, ‘Oh, we didn’t sell a lot this weekend,’ and I’d say, ‘Well, people aren’t necessarily going to buy (during the art event) but now they know that you’re there. So, when people do need an insurance company or they need a gift or a card from Hallmark, they’re going to know that you’re there, so you have to look at it as a marketing opportunity more than a lot of people coming in for those two days,’ ” Ray said. “So, people (shop owners) have become educated to that.”
Now, some stores hold their own promotions or move merchandise outside to lure interest during the event.
Vranesh estimated as many as 8,000 people come to the ArtWalk. Many, he said, are looking for holiday gifts. Sometimes being face-to-face with the artist gives a gift more relevance.
“It’s important to have a connection because they can talk about it, and that’s the fun thing about these shows. People can meet the artists, find out what inspired them, that kind of thing,” Vranesh said.
The natural transition of artists means that only 25 to 30 percent have been with the event since the beginning. People come looking for particular artists to add to their collection. Sometimes, it’s not what they’re expecting, as an artist’s work is always evolving. One example is Sonia Pacheco. Her jewelry has found an organic niche, and she now uses wine corks for what she calls her wine wear collection.
Sheila Spargo is a watercolor artist who travels a lot and is inspired by places she visits. She has been with ArtWalk since it began.
She said that in art circles, the ArtWalk is “very prestigious. It gives you a chance to meet and talk with people who enjoy your work and have bought it in the past. Hopefully, they’ll buy again. It gives you a good chance to get feedback.”
The show is well-run, she said. It helps that Vranesh is the producer as well as a participating artist, Spargo said, so should there be an issue, he sees both sides of the coin.
The Kids’ Art Park has become popular. As before, it will feature hands-on craft projects and face painting for children of all ages. It will also showcase the Women’s Club of Summerlin’s reading program for children and involve guest authors reading from their books. Featured Las Vegas authors on the docket include Frank Fiorello, Kevin Janison and Zane Spencer.
ArtWalk admission and parking are free. For more information, visit vegasartwalk.com.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.