My name is Tamarisk Wood. I was born and raised in Las Vegas and have lived here my entire life.
I went to The Las Vegas Academy of Performing & Visual Arts from it's opening year in 1993. During that time i became a cafe' kid. Enigma, Copioh, Roma... I was always at one of them. I met amazing, remarkable people who inspired me, and fell in love with coffee culture.
I started my first Barista job in 1999 near UNLV. While working there, I started booking live local bands, and monthly exhibits of local artists. I also DJ'd and had 3 club nights, but clubs just didn't give the creative outlet I wanted, despite my attempts to bring art into the mix. So in 2002 I put on my first art & music festival at The Arts Factory, called Avant Garden. The festival featured 4 bands & 15 Artists. The next year, in March of 2003, we put on the second and final festival at The Arts Factory.
After a short break, I started a First Friday pre-Get Back party at The Beauty Bar in 2005. I hung art on the walls, had DJs, and live bands like The Bleachers, Big Friendly Corporation and What 4 You, as well as performance artists & burlesque. It was a ton of fun!
I stopped doing that show once I started my biggest project to date, The Epicenter Gallery on Main & Charleston. From December 2005-2008, every First Friday I curated 3 rooms with 3 different artists, and quite often, themed group shows featuring some of Vegas' best known & prolific artists, including Casey Weldon, Juan Muniz, Amy Sol, Mike Biggs, Roxy & Albert Montoya and Cuca Refugia. I also booked live music in The Backroom each month, with the bands Give 'Em Hell, HOTS, The Skooners, Listener, Dr. Popsicle And the Hair-Painted Opera House, and many Macro-Fi acts among the performers who played The Epicenter over the years. It was a lot of work and organizing, but with help from all of the amazing artists, bands, and the community, I was able to put on fresh shows every month.
Currently I'm curating at Sunrise Coffee, as well as The 3rd Street Farmers Market and occasionally putting on benefit shows for local charities. I'm also helping book Common Ground after party every First Friday.
I'm still a Barista. I've worked at huge corporations, franchises, and small independents. I've worked from starting level to managing a corporate cafe for several years. I understand Cafe management and know the needs of the business from every level and angle.
I love Las Vegas. I love our art & music community. And I love making beautiful, yummy coffee. Seeing that smile after the first sip, as silly as it seems, makes me giddy.
I've wanted my own cafe & art gallery for years, but at 32 years old, I finally feel I have the experience and maturity to create a space that will be around for a very long time; to become a home for artists, musicians, writers, thinkers, and friends to come together and make Las Vegas even better.
Other Ways You Can Help
Even if you can't contribute monetarily, you can still help Avant become reality!
You can spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog. You can write a quick email to the weeklies or newspapers and maybe the campaign will get a write-up.
If you have any restaurant equipment, from commercial refrigerators or blenders, an espresso machine, or anything you think could help cut costs, please let me know.
If you'd like to help put on fundraisers outside of the internet, in the real world, I'd be more than happy to help put it together with you.
Don't forget Indiegogo makes it easy for you & has share tools!