Fremont East is becoming more artful.
Joining the return of the Golden Goose and a towering flamingo in downtown Las Vegas is a massive jewel-toned mural on the side of the Western Motel.
“Mermaids Don’t Wear Skirts,” a collaboration between street artists Aware and Bandit, has transformed a wall at Ninth and Fremont streets into a whimsical underwater seascape. It replaces one by Christina Angelina that was worn and damaged by graffiti.
“That mural was beautiful but had been damaged, and we were getting concerns from the city and residents downtown,” says Bill Kennedy, marketing director for DTP Companies, formerly the Downtown Project. “DTP owns the building and we made a conscious effort to give locals time to shine. Aware is local. We’re trying to give local artists here a chance to get art out here.”
The public art piece features a woman diving among the ruins of a fuschia shipwreck and borrows from the symbolism of sirens and merfolk.
“I wanted to do a piece that focused on women’s issues, considering the modern political climate, and therefore, the palette was inspired by breast cancer awareness,” says the artist who paints under the pseudonym Aware. “The diving woman is traveling among the wreckage of the patriarchy, weighted down and waterlogged by the expectations which society has dressed her in.”
The art piece is the latest effort by DTP to make the Fremont East area more walkable and encourage foot traffic between Downtown Container Park and the newly-opened Fergusons Downtown shopping concept.
“Art is made for the public, so having more art in public spaces is always a good idea,” Aware says. “It’s nice to see that the city is making efforts to increase the character of the downtown area alongside increasing its productivity.”