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So long, Emergency Arts!

Emergency Arts building

The Emergency Arts building prepares for the Life Is Beautiful festival (Photo by Dustin M. Wax, 2016)

Six years ago, the Burlesque Hall of Fame opened our “modest” space at the front of the Emergency Arts center. And so once again, from our origins as Exotic World in the Mojave Desert, burlesque’s history, heritage, and unique contribution to society had a home.

And now we say farewell and thank you to the Emergency Arts center as we enter a new bump in our grind. The Burlesque Hall of Fame will be briefly closed starting tomorrow, September 23, until we reopen on October 7 in our interim space at 1017 South First Street, Suite #195–right next door to where our brand new building will be in 2017!

BHoF ribbon-cutting at Emergency Arts in 2010

Surrounded by burlesque Legends and Miss Exotic Worlds, then-Mayor Oscar Goodman cuts the “ribbon” at the opening of BHoF on Fremont Street (Photo by Derek Jackson, 2010)

Emergency Arts was the brainchild of Jen Cornthwaite. Jen worked with the El Rancho Casino, the property’s owners, to transform a long-abandoned building — once a JC Penneys and more recently a medical clinic — on the urban blight end of Fremont Street into a home for artists, creative professionals, and community builders of all stripes. Centered around The Beat Coffeehouse, which rapidly became THE downtown hangout for the creative class, Emergency Arts became a model for a new kind of downtown Las Vegas, spurring development all up and down East Fremont St. and arguably kickstarting the entire downtown renovation that attracted investors like Zappos’ Tony Hsieh to the area.

Today’s East Fremont would be unrecognizable to the downtown denizen of 6 years ago, with upscale restaurants, bars, boutique shops, and other attractions stretching far down a street once the domain of gangs and drug addicts. Likewise, today’s BHoF is an almost wholly new thing from 6 years ago, with stronger finances, a more active board, and a growing staff. We have long outgrown our small space nestled into the front of the building, and began planning our exit two years ago. Now the time has come to leave, to move into our interim space and begin preparing for the bigger move into our new home at 1025 S Main St. in the spring.

Thank you Emergency Arts, to all the artists and other professionals who built a home there, and especially to Jen Cornthwaite and the El Rancho for making a bet on the idea in the first place. It’s been great to be part of the growth of a whole new kind of downtown!

Be sure to visit us in our temporary space at 1017 S First St, Suite #195, now through the end of the year, next to the site of our future permanent home!

BHoF's staff on our last day at Emergency Arts

BHoF’s staff on our last day at Emergency Arts (Photo by Catherine Harris, 2016)

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Burlesque Hall of Fame