Arts District Ready for Smith Center Opening - 8 News NOW

Arts District Ready for Smith Center Opening

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LAS VEGAS -- The cultural injection the new Smith Center will bring to Las Vegas is priceless. But nearby business are seeing dollar signs, expecting a significant increase in downtown traffic.

A lot of businesses may be calling the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Smith "Stimulus" Center. Stores and businesses have been looking forward to and preparing for tonight's opening for a while.

"If we get the clientele that we're expecting, we'll probably will be setting up tables every day now and put like a bar outside -- like a mini-bar so that way people can walk around with their drinks, with the DJ and the little dancers outside. That way, people can get the real feeling of Mexico down here at Casa Don Juan," said Casa Don Juan manager Raul Billy Gil.

Casa Don Juan is already thinking about ways to expand and serve more customers the Smith Center will help attract to the Arts District. Casa Don Juan caters mostly to the lunch crowd, but traffic before and after events could change all that. The same goes for a nearby art gallery.

"We have been in the trenches getting it done, doing it with lots of love and passion and great art. But we don't have the high profile -- what the Smith Center can attract. I'm so excited about it and the excitement has been building and finally it's going to happen," said Marty Walsh, owner of the Trifecta Gallery.

Trifecta is a contemporary art gallery that sits in the heart of the Arts District. It specializes in paintings by emerging and mid-career artists. Those artists and the gallery are banking on the extra exposure that could lift their careers.

Not only is the Smith Center premiering tonight, it's also First Friday, so it is kind of a mini test-run at the Arts District before the Smith Center finally opens to the general public next week.

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