Tag Archives: museums

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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Las Vegas Downtown Art Museum Plans Kaboshed

mocaThe dream of Finnish businessman and European art collector Poju Zabludowicz was to come to downtown Las Vegas and build a contemporary art museum.  He and his wife, Anita, have been feverishly collecting art since the mid-1990s and had planned to privately fund and build the museum. 

But, at least for now, that dream will not come true.

 Likewise, the art community of Las Vegas is largely devastated and heartbroken. 

Zabludowicz, chairman and chief executive officer of Tamares Group, withdrew his group’s proposal to build the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in an old fingerprinting building on East Fremont Street in the Las Vegas Entertainment District.  He cited the poor economy for last week’s decision. 

Although Tamares, which owns several Las Vegas downtown properties, including the Las Vegas Club and Plaza, still plans to open MOCA at some undefined future time, it’s just not in the cards now to invest $12 million in a nonprofit venture. 

The City of Las Vegas also required that the museum be completed within two years, a timeline that didn’t work for Tamares.

 The Zabludowicz Collection includes more than 1,000 works by emerging artists of the late 20th and 21st centuries.  Some of those works had been planned to be brought to Las Vegas.  The art centerpiece, titled the “Large Field Array,” would have been a permanent installation of about 8,000 square feet, being comprised of 300 sculptures by British artist Keith Tyson, who won the Turner Prize in 2002. 

The City of Las Vegas has already contacted five other groups that previously submitted proposals for building on the site.  Most of them were for nightclubs. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who has long identified himself as a proponent of the arts, said that he doesn’t support a downtown art museum.  “It’s not necessary to have an art museum.  I want a mob museum,” said Goodman.

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