enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Heart of a Volunteer...

Over the last several months a group of dedicated volunteers came together to plan an event that no one was sure would be a success. We came together with a common goal to make a change to a yearly tradition which has marked the official beginning of the Gay Pride season in Las Vegas. For seven years the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) has hosted an art show that would bring together the artistic talents of the community in celebration of Pride. From its humble beginnings to what we accomplished this year, is a remarkable demonstration when the community, gay and straight, can come together for a common goal. The yearly art show which normally took place at The Center would be transformed into ARTrageous Vegas, an event that would combine all aspects of art, from paintings to performance from sculpture to the culinary arts.

ARTrageous Vegas
(photo by Veronica Sweet)
On Friday, April 23 at exactly 10am the art show volunteers descended upon the Aruba Hotel and Spa in Downtown Las Vegas to transform a modest theater and lounge into an art gallery and cabaret. For almost 16 hours straight we worked to make the ARTrageous Vegas into an art extravaganza. I will tell you this that I have never worked with such a dedicated group of volunteers as I did last Friday. Even though we had a few hiccups in planning along the way our task was simple, to put on a great event no matter if people came or not. When the doors opened at 6pm dozens of guests were waiting on the red carpet to enter. By the time the cabaret began at 8pm the small art gallery we created was packed with close to 100 people that were ready to party throughout the night in celebration of art in all its forms. Friday night was magical and one that demonstrated that when a group of people come together they can change the world. As Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said "Never doubt a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has."
ARTrageous Vegas
(photo by Veronica Sweet)

I will admit that I have volunteered thousands of hours for great causes around my community and state. Whether it has been to feed the homeless or to sit on non-profit boards, the time that I have spent giving has been one of the most fulfilling activities I have ever done in my life. Volunteering is never easy and one that takes time and dedication. Interestingly enough volunteering in Las Vegas takes a back seat when compared to other American cities. According to the website Volunteering for America, Las Vegas ranks 49th out of 51 cities surveyed http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/NV/Las-Vegas . Nevada, as is tradition among many polls ranks towards the bottom whether it is in education or volunteering. This is nothing to be proud of and we as citizens of this state should be called to action and change this horrible trend. It is time that we get off our backsides, get away from the television and start making a difference in our community.

Get involved and make a difference!

"There's nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer."
General James "Jimmy" Doolittle

Thank you to all of the Volunteers, Art Show Committee Members, Artists, Performers, The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, The Aruba Hotel and Spa and the dozens of sponsors who assisted in putting on a huge event!

Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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