An African-American museum is planned for the Westside of Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas’ historic Westside community is paving the way for an African-American museum and cultural arts center, as part of its roadmap for revitalization.

The center is one of many implementation strategies under the community’s HUNDRED plan – a comprehensive program, developed in 2016, to breathe new life into the historic Westside.

The City of Las Vegas issued a call for proposals on June 6 from interested parties to develop a master plan for the museum. The application deadline is July 7.

Las Vegas City Councilman Cedric Crear refers to it as “changing the course of the river.”

“If you look at the historic Westside and you look at what happened throughout the city, the growth of the city, everything was kind of built around it,” Crear said. “Then you’ll see that a lot hasn’t happened in the historic Westside for decades.”

The center will serve as an educational opportunity for museum visitors to learn about and celebrate the contributions of African Americans. A timeline or cost for the project could not be confirmed by Crear, but he hopes the museum will come to fruition within the next five to 10 years.

The idea of ​​a cultural epicenter for African Americans to celebrate their culture has been under discussion since 2016.

“It’s about the culture — not just locally, but around the state as well as nationally — about the contributions that African Americans have made to our society,” Crear said.

With the historic Westside having a majority minority population, Crear and other city council members thought it was important to have the museum there. And community members have been “overwhelmingly supportive” of the new initiative, according to Crear.

“If you look at the historic Westside, it’s one of the most historic areas in the city. It helped build this whole city,” he said. “You’d be hard pressed outside of downtown, maybe the strip and other areas, to find a shopping area that has been so instrumental in the congruence of the (African American) community.”

Specific details about the museum are slim, but the city has set some expectations on its website. One of them includes connecting the Walker African-American Museum and Research Center, at West Van Buren Avenue and H Street, to a new facility or possibly repurposing Ethel Pearson Park for the museum.

It also hopes to incorporate “permanent and rotating collections” of “African American art and artists of all kinds,” according to the website.

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