Mermaid-themed art kicks off group shows at Downtown Spaces’ Bubblegum Gallery

When southwest Las Vegas dancer and actress Kady Heard learned that the inaugural group show at The Bubblegum Gallery, 1800 S. Industrial Road, Suite 207D, would be mermaid-themed, she dove into the opportunity to participate.

Artists from all over the valley contributed paintings, sketches, watercolors, decor, jewelry and more, and Heard slipped into a mermaid tail and donated her time during the show’s June First Friday opening.

“It was great,” she said. “They had a good turnout, and everyone that came in was so excited to see a mermaid sitting in the middle of all the art.”

The Bubblegum Gallery owner LeslieAnn Farrell, aka Bubblegum Nightmare, was thrilled to learn Heard was diving in for the big group show.

Farrell said Heard messaged her on Facebook saying, “ ‘I would love to dress up in my fin and have people take pictures with me.’ I said, ‘Are you kidding? I would love for you to be at the Mermaid Show.’ ”

Heard said, “As soon as I spoke with the owner, she was so wonderful and excited about the show, it was just a no-brainer to donate my time and fin.”

A live mermaid guest was only the icing on the cake for Farrell, an east valley artist best known for adding flavor to the decor of the Cupcakery at 1150 E. Flamingo Road, Suite 105. She was most excited to get such a tremendous response from her call for artists.

“It’s more than I expected, which makes me feel good,” Farrell said as she collected art on the show’s drop-off day. She added that she was hosting the show because she, too, wanted to see a group mermaid art show. “And now it’s actually happening.”

She said the reality of the show hit her when the first two pieces came in.

“They’re so different. You’ve got a dark, mysterious mermaid that looks like her hair is eels or in the seaweed, and then you have hipster Ariel,” Farrell said. “Just two completely different styles. She makes it work. She was the first one. So when she dropped off, it was, like, ‘Oh, this is really happening. This is real.’ ”

Other contributions to the show included a piece Farrell calls “Donut Boob Mermaid” and pieces with stones and pearls. While some are cartoony, others are highly detailed, such as a piece Farrell pointed out that featured a mermaid based on a live model, the artist’s friend.

“This tattoo is a tattoo she really has,” Farrell said.

While many of the artists in the show are seasoned professionals, Farrell said many were participating for the first time.

“This is a couple of people’s first time even painting, and then it was a couple of people’s first time painting and putting their work up in a group art show,” she said. “So they were, like, beyond excited. And for them to do that here, I’m just like, ‘Hell yeah.’ ”

Gallery vendor Theresa Broten said she welcomes the group shows.

“It’s awesome to see all the different styles and techniques,” she said. “And LeslieAnn makes the gallery look so beautiful with her fun energy.”

Next up, the gallery is scheduled to host Rainbows & Unicorns, a group show set to open during the July 1 First Friday.

Art is already trickling in for the show. Evelyn Reyes, who creates under the name Stitchy Geeks, wasn’t able to be part of the mermaid show, but she’s sewing unicorn headbands and pillows in anticipation of the next show.

“The Rainbows & Unicorns show will be my first show of this kind,” Reyes said. “The only thing I can say about the Rainbows & Unicorns show is that I’m hoping for it to be a very fun and magical show.”

Farrell said there will be photo-ready unicorn guests at the show, but Heard said she won’t be one of them.

“I will be back for the unicorn show but not as a unicorn,” she said. “That’s one costume I don’t have, but I do have a friend that came to see me at the gallery and is now doing a piece for the unicorn show.”

After the unicorns have galloped off, the gallery’s plans include a Harry Potter-inspired show opening Aug. 5; a Disney-inspired show Sept. 2; a “Beetlejuice” tribute launching Oct. 7; a Day of the Dead show Nov. 4; and a “Wizard of Oz” show Dec. 2.

Art lovers will have one more shot at picking up mermaid art during Paint & Shop Saturday, scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. June 25. Artists will be dropping by to pick up unsold mermaid art and drop off art for the Rainbows & Unicorns show.

Farrell is also inviting anyone to bring an easel, paint live, listen to music, make jewelry, color or “chill, whatever you want. Just stop by and see the gallery.”

Starting July 1, the gallery is set to be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The gallery also frequently hosts painting parties for adults and children.

Visit tinyurl.com/z5w7kxb or call 702-806-0930.

Contact View contributing reporter Ginger Meurer at gmeurer@viewnews.com. Find her on Twitter: @gingermmm.

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