H.U. Business Student Helps MainStreet Las Vegas Increase Interest in Second Saturday Artwalk
New Mexico Highlands University business student Jewell Esquibel helped increased Las Vegas business participation in Second Saturday Artwalk through a work-study internship with MainStreet Las Vegas.
During fall semester, Esquibel worked as the coordinator for Second Saturday Artwalk. Since 2008, more than 75 local artists have participated in Artwalk by teaming up with local galleries, retail shops, restaurants and other businesses to attract locals and visitors to historic downtown Las Vegas.
The next Artwalk is Dec. 11.
“Second Saturday Artwalk promotes local businesses in the MainStreet Corridor and local artists at the same time,” said Cindy Collins, MainStreet executive director. “Artwalk takes place on the one-mile corridor between the train depot and plaza park, and encompasses Las Vegas’ three nationally registered historic commercial districts.”
Collins said Artwalk is a MainStreet grassroots initiative that showcases local artists and supports economic development. It grew out of Las Vegas being designated a New Mexico Arts and Cultural District in 2008, making it one of the first in the state.
“We had a high need for outreach to businesses and Jewell did a great job with that this semester,” Collins said. “She met individually with all 91 businesses on the corridor to explain how Artwalk would benefit business and how MainStreet could help.
“Jewell is incredibly honest, upfront and positive about opportunities in Las Vegas. Her familiarity with Las Vegas and her work ethic were a huge asset to MainStreet,” Collins said.
Growing up in Las Vegas, Esquibel, 28, is a third-generation rancher who has always treasured the time she spends at her family’s 5,000-acre Cielo Vista Farm 74 miles northeast of town. The single mom still works at the ranch every other day, bringing her 6-year-old son, Timo, along as she feeds and waters the cattle and horses.
Esquibel said she chose accounting as a major because she wanted a financially stable career that would help her make a good life for her son. Math was always her best subject, and she found accounting both interesting and challenging in a past job.
Margaret Young, dean of the university’s School of Business, urged Esquibel to apply for the paid internship at MainStreet.
“I recommended Jewell for this MainStreet internship because she has familial ties to local businesses and understands their concerns, giving her a helpful perspective,” Young said. “She’s also a good business student who is very determined to succeed in her profession. Jewell is fearless and has so much initiative.”
Esquibel jumped at the chance to work at MainStreet, earning while learning something new and helping her community.
“There are so many talented people locally that the community doesn’t know about,” Esquibel said. “The whole point of Second Saturday Artwalk is to help both the artists and the businesses. It was gratifying to get more businesses to participate and display the artists’ work.”
A few of the businesses Esquibel recruited for Artwalk include Armijo Glassworks, Plaza Burgers, Gordon Jewelers, Abraham’s Tiendita, and Monica’s Café.
Esquibel’s internship with MainStreet ends this month and she’s already landed a part-time accounting job with Franken Construction. Collins said she’s delighted that Esquibel secured a position in her direct field of study.
“We’re hoping to find another Jewell-like Highlands student to intern with MainStreet,” Collins said.
In 2005 Las Vegas was designated a MainStreet Community by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since then, MainStreet Las Vegas has generated $663,000 in grants to plan, design and construct major streetscapes and other beautification projects.
In addition, Collins said local commercial building owners and investors have spent $5.8 million on building acquisition on the MainStreet corridor and have spent more than $7.6 million on building restorations.