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Economy forces Henderson Art Association to end operations

After 10 years , the Henderson Art Association shut down in early May.

“Due to the economy, we saw membership drop,” said Deborah Mays, president of the association.

Mays said the association was a non profit that supported artists in the community by providing them with outlets to share their work. For the first seven years, the association also offered art classes to allow members and people from the community to learn about life drawing, water colors and other forms of art.

Dana Satterwhite, an artist who also served on the association’s board, said the association helped him find an outlet for his creativity.

“I was definitely saddened by the news,” Satterwhite said. “The association had so much passion. But passion can only carry you so far.”

The association wasn’t just beneficial for artists.

“The arts scene can help booster the cultural community,” Satterwhite said.

Satterwhite wasn’t too surprised to see the association go.

“For some reason, it is hard to get the art scene in Henderson to grow like it is in Vegas,” Satterwhite said. “The downtown area is undergoing a small renaissance that I hope grows larger.”

In 2003, the association opened a gallery in the Water Street District to help some of the association’s artists present their works and to encourage other artists to network.

The gallery closed after about three years, and most of the association’s promotions were transferred to its website.

Satterwhite said the organization tried to spearhead a lecture series that invited other artists out.

“They would speak about topics that would pertain to art,” Mays said. “It was free and open to anyone.”

But the lecture series lasted only about nine months.

Members stayed hopeful as artists promoted the association at city events, such as Third Thursday or the Friday concert series, ArtBeat.

Mays said that in the end, it was always the same artists and volunteers supporting the events.

“Membership had dropped by 50 percent,” Mays said.

Satterwhite said it was because of the rough economy .

“Being an artist is hard enough,” Satterwhite said. “If you don’t have a gallery to exhibit your work, it can be challenging.”

Mays hopes to donate what supplies and resources the association had acquired to other art associations. She doesn’t know whether the association will try to restart in the future.

“It is hard to talk about the future when we are currently closing,” Mays said.

There are other associations throughout the Las Vegas Valley, such as the Boulder City Art Guild or City Lights, that Henderson artists can use as a networking source.

Satterwhite said maybe a new incarnation will form.

“It is easier to start fresh than to restart something,” Satterwhite said. “Maybe it will come back in a different form.”

Mays said the association plans to have a farewell event, but no tentative dates have been scheduled.

Contact Henderson and Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.

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