It’s easy to think visual art in Las Vegas is limited to the Strip’s highly curated galleries and the work of Downtown’s First Friday festival. It would be unwise to assume this, though, as Las Vegas is a city of reinvention—visually stimulating pieces abound, even if you may not consider them to be art.
Launched less than a year ago, SettlersAndNomads.com is a curated website featuring contemporary artists, thinkers and projects with a connection to Las Vegas. Its aim is to showcase creatives and offer artists an ever-evolving space where they can gather and learn from each other.
Settlers + Nomads curator Wendy Kveck is a trained visual artist and educator at College of Southern Nevada. Her work has been featured nationally, including stints at the local university’s Barrick Museum. She created Settlers + Nomads to be a networking tool for the website’s featured artists. “I was inspired by artists’ web projects coming out of other communities such as Brooklyn and Los Angeles,” Kveck says.
At first, she conceived the webpage for a small group of artists she had met or worked with. It later evolved to include more of Las Vegas’ art history, and now features artists that come from and have passed through the city—hence the term “settlers and nomads.”
In addition to connecting local and international artists, the site introduces projects to buyers and gallery curators who might otherwise dismiss the city’s art scene. It also offers visibility without the expense of a physical location. “I decided to launch something online, rather than a brick-and-mortar space, because I’ve seen so many struggle. It is a better balance with my own studio practice and budget,” Kveck says.
The website features local artists such as Vegas Seven photographer and multidisciplinary artist Krystal Ramirez, who is appreciative of the legitimacy it gives Nevada. “I’ve had several people tell me that they had no idea there were so many artists living in Nevada or having ties to Nevada,” says Ramirez, who is showing her work in the Nevada Museum of Art’s Tilting the Basin: Contemporary Art of Nevada exhibit in Reno.
Even those who Settlers + Nomads have yet to feature are appreciative of the interest generated by the site. Christian Kolle, an artist and gallerist at Jana’s RedRoom in the Arts Factory, believes that although art in Las Vegas is in its infancy, artists can still increase their visibility and growth through collaboration—which is exactly what Settlers + Nomads offers.
*Editor’s note: This article has been corrected from its original version.