Enter the local art scene
Creating art in the city that never sleeps
Preparing for their podcast entitled “FoolishTalksLV”, senior Ahsan Fahim and junior Athena Nardo read over their questions for the guest star, a rapper by the name of Joon. Although setup with professional cameras and backdrops, the podcast studio is actually in Fahim’s garage. Within a couple of months, the arts community managed to help them turn their vision into a reality.
Art has played an important role in the culture and development of countless youth communities, such as the underground punk scene in New York City in the 1980s. And over the past few years, the arts community in Las Vegas is experiencing a similar cultural renaissance.
So while the idea that there isn’t anything to do in Las Vegas for those under 21 remains popular, the Arts District is slowly changing that stereotype.
“We’ve left the arts in the hands of adults for too long,” Fahim said. “In the entire history of Las Vegas, it hasn’t really worked out for adults as it has for teens.”
After playing his first basketball game with his new team in August, Fahim decided to create a podcast on a whim with a couple of his friends. Taking a road trip to think about their ideas, the group decided on naming the podcast “FoolishTalksLV.”
“We drove to Mt. Charleston because I [believe] that your mind flows naturally in nature,” Fahim said. “Whenever I’m up there, I always have the best ideas. We came back down with zero hours of sleep. We had three laptops set up; I was working on the YouTube [channel], Matthew was working on the Twitch and Athena was working on the website. Right after that we went straight to Best Buy and bought mics. I bought pop filters and we had the whole month booked with people that same day.”
Since then, the podcast has had hundreds of viewers watching the trio interview a variety of artists. Between the first and second recordings, the number of viewers jumped from 28 to 130, and has steadily been increasing.
“Having [the] podcast really exposes you to every talent that is in Vegas and not just our side of town: from Northside, Henderson, Eastside, Summerlin and all over the Valley,” Fahim said. “It’s just so dope to have all of these collectives and all of these locals sitting in my garage talking to me. It helped me grow because a lot of the mindsets that come onto those podcasts give me a piece of [their words of wisdom] once they’ve left.”
Fahim’s experience is not an isolated example, as teenagers are supporting each other to explore their artistic endeavors.
After relocating from the East Coast while pursuing artistic endeavors, Teran Lind, moved to Las Vegas to open a creator’s space called “thePLACE.” A little after, Lind met Kaalil Price at First Friday, sharing an interest with him about supporting young artists. From there, the two have been co-managing together.
“The art community is important because without creatives supporting one another, how do we expect an audience to respect and support us?” Price said. “With a community of artful people we can make the Kreative World more inclusive and ‘kreate’ a platform for us to change the society around us.”
Previously, the arts community struggled to breathe. Now with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, events are open to anyone with a phone and who follow these accounts. In Fahim’s case, social media is the only tool keeping the podcast alive.
“Social media is everything for the podcast,” Fahim said. “Without it we wouldn’t be able to broadcast. Our main marketing is on Instagram, we post our clips to YouTube and we stream on Twitch. Everything that we do breathes through social media.”
On an average night at “thePLACE,” different teenage artists from a variety of backgrounds are performing and selling their artwork.
“thePLACE events are some of the best because it isn’t about how cool you seem nor who has the most followers, it is strictly about their art,” Price said. “We find artists with actual talent rather than looking for people with ‘clout.’”
The arts community can only survive and continue to grow as long as teenagers stay involved and attend the events.
“The people I bring on my podcast are some of the brightest people I know and they are truly the ones to change the ideas of Las Vegas,” Fahim said. “I want to push [the arts] out to the world because what is our city known for? It’s just known for gambling and the strip but there are so many other things behind the scenes that should be pushed to center stage.”
As the arts scene continues to grow, more creators will join the community, making it no longer a “new” scene.
“Teen artists are truly the brightest people and will spark Las Vegas,” Fahim said. “The beautiful thing about teenagers is that we’re able to do anything that we set our minds to, which is why the arts community is so full of teens.”
Seeing one of her models walk down the runway at Las Vegas Fashion Week, lit up by cameras flashing left and right, senior Ghyanni Ferraer watches from her seat as the outfit she created is shown off to the audience. She spots her outfit which is comprised of red fabric, cheetah print and a black lace bra with a chain attached.
“The arts community is important to me because it impacts me and I’m apart of the scene, as well,” Ferraer said. “Vegas is still growing and as it grows my fellow creators can define what art is. It’s connected to what I want to pursue when I grow older and I want my say in the community.”
The art scene in Las Vegas is more than just paintings on walls for Ferraer. Ever since kindergarten, she developed a love for fashion and was inspired by designer Coco Chanel to start making her own outfits. Since middle school she has been hand sewing her outfits and then began creating actual outfits in high school.
“I got my own sewing machine during sophomore year and I kind of turned a corner of my room into a little workspace,” Ferraer said. “There were days where I would stay up until two in the morning sometimes to finish or perfect an outfit or top I had to make for a project.”
Not only has Ferraer participated in competitions and at Las Vegas Fashion Week, she has also developed her own brand entitled ‘Beby Yanni.’
“My brand began because I just started making clothes and slowly, I got better,” Ferraer said. “The brand name came to be because someone gave me the nickname ‘Yanni,’ and there’s also a meaning to Beby Yanni which is: through my adventures of growing as a fashion designer, I want you to be by my side.”
After gaining enough experience and learning how to properly construct clothing pieces, Ferraer decided to compete in a fashion design competition for FCCLA.
“When I was a sophomore, I joined FCCLA and participated in a competition where I ended up winning state and a prize which was a $3,000 scholarship towards FIDM, my dream college,” Ferraer said. “I competed because I really wanted to see how hard I could push myself, and that competition has really helped me grow as a fashion designer.”
Ferraer has also hosted an event called ‘Global ARTz,’ which took approximately three months to fully plan and coordinate.
“There was live music, artists performing and/or selling their art and a live fashion show,” Ferraer said. “Global ARTz was also an event that gave back to the community. All proceeds from the event went towards global warming, so all ticket sales went to an organization that aids global warming.”
Global ARTz allowed Ferraer to get a grasp of a real fashion experience. She had to find numerous models and artists on her own to perform at the event.
“Creating the Global ARTz event was a long process,” Ferraer said. “I had to find the artists that wanted to be in the event as well as finding food vendors. I had to make payments for the venue. It was a lot — but everything was totally worth it. My event brought young local artists together and allowed them to showcase their talents and relations to fashion, music and art.”
Ultimately, Ferraer wants everyone to feel enjoy in the fashion events and be apart of the community.
“I love the community, so that’s why I spend most of my time there,” Ferraer said. “It’s really supportive in Vegas so that’s really nice. People should attend these events because these are memories that can last a really long time The memories you make and the people you meet at the art events are amazing. You could just meet someone knew and suddenly everyone’s connected to you.”
Las Vegas is an entire scene in and of itself. However, it’s important to not forget the people who are consistently attending the shows and supporting the bands for this culture to thrive the way it does–like senior Presiosa Prieto who has been attending shows since February of this year.
“My first house party was actually a birthday party,” Prieto said. “Attending this show opened my eyes to new experiences. There was a performance by this Las Vegas band named ‘Laguna’, which was actually their first time performing in front of a crowd. Since seeing them, I have fallen in love with their music and became close with two of the musicians in the band.”
Seeing as art events are important to the performers and artists involved, they value audience members and frequent attendants. By supporting local performers, these types of events can continue to happen and artists can gain popularity.
For many frequent attendants, like Prieto, becoming close to the artists and making friends in the community is a common thing. As the community grows, the support and friendships do too.
“Since the first one, I have met so many talented people that have such kind hearts and I’m so happy to be close with all of them,” Prieto said. “I’ve become a lot more comfortable with the environment of the events and the people.”
However, attending art shows and listening to local artists isn’t the only purpose of attending these events, it also can spark creativity for those who go to them or give attendees a sense of belonging. Whether teens draw, sing or sew — watching someone else pour their hard work out in front of them can be an inspirational experience.
“All of these events have inspired my creative process to where if I probably had a little more motivation to make something out of it, I would have a community of people to support me,” Prieto said. “I mostly express myself through fashion. I’ve made a few of my clothes and I even draw — but don’t showcase it because it isn’t that good.”
Other students, like senior Abigail Fitzpatrick, attend events held at public locations, such as thePLACE. Here, they hold events such as open mic nights, art galleries or events that are focused on a specific theme, such as LGBTQ+ culture or astrology.
After seeing her mutual friends going to these events, Fitzpatrick decided to become more involved with the art community. She views these events as an opportunity to discover talented local artists and musicians. However, the experiences at the occasions aren’t always the most memorable.
“The one thing that I don’t really like about the events is that sometimes the dancing at the events can seem awkward or forced so it can be uncomfortable,” Fitzpatrick said.
Art shows are not just about the art that is showcased, it is about the connections attendees can make by attending. Whether teens go to perform or simply to support their friends, attending these shows supports the artistic community in Vegas.
“It’s a good time if you are with the right crowd and are hanging out with your friends,” Fitzpatrick said. “I like going to these art events because I like to see others’ creativity and art. My first experience was 10/10 and it was interesting and fun.”
Whether it’s creating a fashion line or attending the local shows, art can be expressed and appreciated in many ways. However, when choosing what message to convey, the best thing you can do is stay true to your roots.
“It doesn’t matter about your age or anything, if you are creative and they are creative,” Fahim said. “You always network and everyone is including each other. “I definitely want myself out there in the art community because I want to be that person to help others and help them grow and I can’t do that If I don’t have an audience in mind.”
With these shows, it has proved that teens truly need an outlet that allows for personal expression. Art is subjective, so teens must discover what form defines them and must ignore others’ opinions. Take it from Prieto, who has high hopes for the future of the arts community.
“The arts community will be expressed in bigger and better ways, especially with the use of technology,” Prieto said. “There will be way more talent being recognized and more styles in art that will create the new trends.”