Tag Archives: culture

Las Vegas’ New Art Junkie Mecca?

Believe it or not, Las Vegas does have a Downtown Arts District.  Yesiree, and, not only that, but they are offering up a second showing of cultural artsy-fartsy festivities with the inauguration of Third Friday this Friday, Jan. 15, starting around 6 p.m., running until approximately midnight. 

Following the footsteps of the economically challenged First Friday, now Las Vegans have the added opportunity to browse art galleries, enjoy the bands and mingle amongst fellow art fanatics twice a month — doubling the pleasure and doubling the fun- if not immediate income to producers. 

Taking place on the same Las Vegas streets and benefiting the same cause, Third Friday may be similar to First Friday in many ways, but it’s projected to vary slightly. 

While Cindy Funkhouse, of the Funk House and Fallout galleries, runs the beginning of the month installment, Cion Noble of the Box Office gallery and venue is coordinating this middle-of-the-month run. 

Hans Cewe , one of the owners of the Gypsy Den — a vintage boutique and art gallery which also triples as a music venue — is happy to see the rise of another event to bring people Downtown Las Vegas, hoping thing will expand from there. 

The Gypsy Den, also run by Cewe’s daughter Katie, will be offering up it’s stage to local bands for the night, with the lineup so far including local acts Vitamin Overdose, Close to Modern and The Marquees. 

Third Friday’s main focus is not merely on the patrons it brings Downtown, but also on the various artists involved. 

“It’s basically going to be a networking opportunity for creative people,” says Noble. “The theme is to network… I don’t anticipate vendors and crafts in the first couple of months — I’d like to see it grow into something that’s similar to First Friday eventually.” 

The mix of “creative people” so far set to ring in Third Friday’s opening night at the Box Office includes Cameron Grant, rock and blues bands Black Cherry Blue, Flux and JD Vittles, as well as a comedy improv and musical open mic event hosted by LV Freeze. 

In keeping with the idea of supporting Las Vegas arts, Funkhouse isn’t viewing the second installment as a threat. Instead she’s offering her support, “merely as a participant,” and opening her galleries’ doors — although she says the art on the walls will be the same as what’s viewed the first weekend of the month. “It’s not practical to change our show out every two weeks, that’d be too much work,” explains Funkhouse. 

If Third Friday catches on, perhaps the struggling downtown Las Vegas can look forward to a more regular crowd. Who knows, maybe a little more culture in our Sin City lives, with good eats, is a good thing.

Here’s a map of area, showing central Box Office.

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Silver Slipper Gets New Las Vegas Home

The famous neon slipper once sat atop of the historic Silver Slipper Gambling Hall, a part of the Last Frontier Village, a replica of an old western town that was once located on Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas.  

Silver Slipper neon signAlthough the Silver Slipper opened in 1950, the sign did not go up until the 1960s. The Last Frontier became the New Frontier, which was eventually absorbed into the Frontier. The slipper was designed by Jack Larsen, Sr., a designer at Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO). The sign is 12 feet high and 17 feet wide. The slipper’s main body contains 900 incandescent light bulbs, with about 80 more in the bow. 

The slipper is part of Las Vegas’ $1.1 million Neon Sign Improvement Project that includes three vintage neon signs placed in the heart of the Cultural Corridor.  It was refurbished and set into place on the median island of Las Vegas Boulevard, located just south of Washington Avenue in what is called the Cultural Corridor of Las Vegas by eight workers from Ultra Signs on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 at approximately 11 p.m. after first being refurbished by Rafael Construction. 

The slipper is the last of three Las Vegas vintage signs to be set in place on the corridor, following the Bow & Arrow Motel sign set into place north of Bonanza on Aug. 24 and, a week later, by the installation of Binion’s Horseshoe sign north of Washington Avenue.  New landscaped median islands are also being installed. 

City crews will now work to provide power and conduct a series of tests prior to the signs being officially put into service. 

The cultural corridor is made up of the highest concentration of cultural institutions in Las Vegas and includes Cashman Center, the Las Vegas Library, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, The Neon Museum, the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park and the Reed Whipple Cultural Center.

Please watch the video of the installation:

http://video214.com/play/0IFyBBBcRJhslXBK3V5KOw/s/dark/

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Nevada Gets $21 Million Gift — for a Science Museum!

With business bankruptcies, closures and layoffs predominate in the news, it’s refreshing to learn that Henderson City Council in Nevada has transferred funds last week from the sale of city land to help spur development of the science museum on a 160-acre site on U.S. Highway 95 near Russell Road.  

It’s a dream come true for Henderson, with talks about building a museum a leading topic for the past 15 years. 

The money is considered a gift to the Henderson Space and Science Center Board, which was formed by the city earlier this year to oversee the nonprofit corporation that will plan and run the attraction. 

The $21 million gift comes from the city’s land fund, which can be used only for capital improvements or the acquisition of property, buildings, furniture and equipment. 

Several years ago the land was to be a spring training facility for a Major League Baseball team that never came to pass.

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Las Vegas Performing Arts Center Breaks Ground

Any cultural and business development in Las Vegas is a good thing in our sputtering economy.    But the Smith CenterSmithCenter Smith Center of the Performing Arts groundbreakingfor the Performing Arts groundbreaking ceremony at the newly named Symphony Park yesterday in Las Vegas wasn’t just any commonplace development- it provides a significant cornerstone to energize the Las Vegas economy, not just when it opens early 2012, but all during the building crescendo. 

“This is being built to be here for the next couple of hundred years and that’s significant in a town that has a tendency to blow things up after 30 to 40 years,” said Don Snyder, the center’s chairman told approximately 150 invited guests, including Fred W. Smith and wife Mary, the namesake for the center. 

The Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre will be permanent residents of the center. Smith Center of the Performing Arts groundbreaking

The center will be anchored by a 2,050-seat main theater and includes an education facility, a cabaret theater and space for children’s and community events. 

Asked afterward about those skeptical of the money spent on the $485 million center and its cultural mission in a city that struggles to get past of its “Sin City” reputation, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman had some choice words for skeptics:Smith Center of the Performing Arts groundbreaking

“To those people I say, we have a lake out there, they can jump in it.  And I’d put the cement on their feet…This is the equivalent of getting an NFL franchise…We still want to have great entertainment and hotels and food and bring in tourists, but for people who live here, these are things that make a world-class city.”

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Las Vegas Embraces Hip-Hop Culture

Las Vegas is finally getting in the groove and embracing the hip-hop culture movement, sort of.  hiphop

On April 25 they’re hosting the “Hip-Hop Culture 2009…The Evolution” event which features Las Vegas DJs, MCs, poets, artists, dancers, fashion designers, and other assorted artsy-fartsy types in an effort to keep its positive, “encouraging youth to stay in school and support good communities, while at the same time discouraging gang participation, violence and drug use.”  

A good cause for Sin City. 

The event will start at 2 p.m. at the Sammy Davis Jr. Plaza at Lorenzi Park, 720 Twin Lakes Drive in Las Vegas. $5, $3 for seniors and children 6-12. 702-229-4800.

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Nevada Lawmakers Aim to Keep State Museums Running

nevadamuseum1On Thursday members of a Senate-Assembly budget panel rejected Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons’ proposed cultural program cuts, saying they want to find funding to keep Nevada’s museums operating at close to current levels as possible. 

Under the governor’s submitted proposal, spending on cultural programs would have been cut nearly 36 percent, to $19.1 million over two years, and staffing would be cut by up to 40 percent. 

The just-renovated East Ely Railroad Depot Museum and Comstock History Center in Virginia City would have been closed, the staff of the Nevada Historical Society would be cut, and other museums would be open only four days per week. 

“Our recommendation [to the governor] was to basically leave them open with a little bit of cut, but keep them operating as much as possible,” said Nevada Assemblyman Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, the budget subcommittee co-chairman. 

To potentially provide some additional Nevada museum funding, the subcommittee rejected the $7.7 million state computer program proposed by Governor Gibbons. 

If the museums remain open, Denis said, revenue from admission costs could also help the crisis. 

Sen. Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, also suggested museums review their policies on use of volunteers to provide adequate staffing at facilities. 

Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, said the new Nevada State Museum at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve would have to wait until the 2011 legislative session.   That would mean the earliest the museum could open, according to Denis, would be 2013. 

If budget cuts are approved as is, library hours would be reduced from eight to four per day, staff would be reduced by half, and state library and museum archives could only be accessed by appointment.

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Hope for Las Vegas Culture is Not Gone

Unless your idea of museum culture happens to be a new Mob Museum, as staunchly supported by Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, the picking in the Las Vegas Valley are becoming sparse to get that old time museum feeling.  

The Las Vegas Art Museum, which opened in 1997, has closed a couple of weeks ago and has joined the growing roster of cultural institutions that have suspended their operations in the face of a weakening economy.   Following suit, the plans for an upscale art gallery and museum proposed for downtown Las Vegas were nixed after being in the works for years. 

But, don’t give up the museum culture ship just yet.  Down south of Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada the 15-year-old idea to build a science museum has taken a step closer to become a reality.    The Henderson City Council on February 17 approved an initial plan for a 51,600-square-foot museum on 150 city-owned acres near U.s. 95 and Galleria Drive. 

With most Henderson residents supporting such a museum, it would be the centerpiece of a mixed-use development that would likely include restaurants, retail space, and condominiums. 

Last year the City of Henderson paid $200,000 to consultants for advice on what kind of museum would best suit the area. 

The museum would likely focus on “scientific accomplishments and issues in Southern Nevada” and would cost about $61 million and could draw 300,000 visitors annually, the consultants said. 

The next step toward a museum is to adopt a master plan for the area, which would outline zoning changes and designs.  That would take about five months for the staff to create a plan to show the Henderson City Council.

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