LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Downtown businesses have come up with a creative way to deter crime as many storefronts shut down to flatten the valley’s COVID-19 curve.

Portions of Main Street near Charleston Boulevard have traded hustle and bustle for boarded up store fronts in the last week. 

However, some are making the best of tough times with a touch of creativity. 

“The best thing you can do is put a splash of paint on it,” local artist Richard Dalton told 8 News Now of the city’s current state. 

After closing their doors to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, business owners through the Las Vegas Arts District have asked local artists to spruce up what they call “blank canvasses.” 

Artists were outside painting Wednesday, all abiding by social distancing recommendations. Some even had signs and barriers asking others to “stay six feet back.”

“In general, people do respect murals more than they respect blank canvasses,” Main Street Mercantile owner Becky Miller said. 

Miller said the group came up with the idea to deter crime after shut downs led to vandalism.

“We’ve already chased off graffiti taggers,” she explained. “And folks who appear to be taking an opportunity of a closed business.”

However, these moves are also giving professional painters some extra eyes on their work. 

“Hopefully folks will be able to be seen more,” Miller said of the artists involved. “Give them some exposure and give them a chance to practice their craft.”

Therefore, vendors hope they can treat an unexpected change for some as an opportunity for others. 

“Might as well make it happy,” Dalton said. “Instead of trying to be depressed and shut in.”

Those who are participating in the project hope their efforts will bring this slice of Las Vegas back even better than before. 

“I’m just so proud of our community down here,” Miller concluded.

Plans are still changing, but Miller told 8 News Now store owners would like to hold an auction to sell the murals once the stores reopen. 

All the proceeds from these events would go to the artists who painted them.