Mostly vacant buildings blocked by road construction surround Kim Rowe’s UV Gallery on 1007 S. Main Street, forcing him to get creative in order to bring people through the doors.
Originally from Vancouver, Rowe wanted to move to Las Vegas after visiting in 1976 when he was 20 years old. Singing for a ‘80s hair metal band got him into sound and lighting, which led to him being a technician for more than 30 years. When he finally moved here in 2014, he opened a sound and lighting shop but it didn’t work out. His options were to move back to British Columbia or try something else. With no previous gallery experience, he decided to open UV Gallery, located in the former Exile Boutique space.
“This area needs more art in it. It’s been stagnant,” he says.
Filling the gallery wasn’t a challenge for Rowe. The large, 2,000-square-foot space is occupied with high-end work mainly from local artists such as moving mechanical works by Mystere lighting engineer Michael Davies, large psychedelic paintings of Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison by Jerry Blank, metal work by Arizona artist Brenna Curry, and many other pieces. There is no specific theme. Rowe simply seeks out art that he likes. A small, separate section of the gallery is dedicated to selling ultraviolet material that glows under black lights.
The challenge is getting people in to see the work.
To encourage more people to visit, Rowe uses the gallery as an events space. In the past, he held a Prince memorial where he installed a light up dance floor, which is available for anyone who wants to use it. Coming up, the gallery is hosting a political satire show by Diane Bush for Election Day on November 8 and a juried art show on October 6. He wants to host open mics, comedy, photography studio space rental, art classes, tai chi, and possibly a haunted gallery for Halloween.
Rowe is updating the back patio with a new paved lot and awning. He wants to convert the front of the studio to have a ‘70s beatnik coffeehouse vibe in hopes the changes create a space for people to hang out because right now, Rowe jokingly says his most lucrative product he is selling is water on First Friday.