Art Project Shows Clash Between Old and New Downtown - 8 News NOW

Art Project Shows Clash Between Old and New Downtown

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LAS VEGAS -- A lot of unique art covers vacant buildings in downtown Las Vegas.

The new movement is bringing a lot of positive changes but now one art project is causing big concerns because neighbors say the work is putting their health at risk.

The Life Cube is a 24-foot art installation that opened Friday, but it is what happens at the end of the month that has people worried about their safety.

The cube is the vision of Scott Cohen an artist who read about the revitalization and growing art movement in downtown Las Vegas. Cohen felt compelled to be a part of it and get the community involved.

"I've been going around knocking on doors, offering wish sticks to people, telling them about the projects," Cohen said.

As part of the project, people are encouraged to write down their wishes then put them into the cube. At the end, like his other installations, he will set the whole thing on fire.

Cohen is devoted to involving local kids and anyone who wants to drop a wish into the cube.

"To me, it's a reverent, cathartic moment and it's a moment of reflection." the artist said.

However, not everyone is on board with Cohen's vision. Cohen came before the Las Vegas City Council after two men told city leaders to shut the project down.

They say they're worried about how the burn could impact their respiratory issues and have concerns the fire could spread to other areas.

"There were a few concerns brought up, and one is the fire danger," Father Courtney Krier, who helps run a church across the street, said.

Father Krier says the project shows the divide between the new movements downtown and the people who have been there for years.

"Those that again have businesses here want to be allowed to continue and there won't be any difficulties," Father Krier said.

Some longtime downtowners say they will welcome the changes here.

"I've been out here 20 years, and I love it," Bruce Williams said.

Williams walked up Friday to fill out his wish card and to wish the project, and it's hundreds of artists, well.

"They need a release," Williams said.

Williams says people need to adjust because ultimately because this type of event is leading to a better downtown.

The project has passed all fire department and city inspections. The rules say if there are strong winds, the burn cannot happen.

Project leaders may also provide alternate transit out of the area for those who are still worried.

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