Detail of Life Is Beautiful mural by VHILS. Photo PtD
FIELD NOTES: Southern Nevada artists and their benefactors have toiled in the streets to raise the level of public art in the region and it’s being noticed. Las Vegas earned a spot on an 11-city list of destinations for street art aficionados at Thrillist. The post is filed under travel and written by Nicole Rupersburg, who “winters in Las Vegas and summers in Detroit,” according to her online bio. “Now ‘street art’ is the new fine art, and murals are the new go-to strategy for economic and community development,” she writes.
The murals from the Life Is Beautiful Festival, the smaller scale work of The I.S.I. Group on the Strip, and Clark County’s ongoing ZAP project got Las Vegas on the list. Other cities on the list are Baltimore, Detroit, Honolulu, Hawaii, Miami, and New York. They made the cut for large-scale street art that reflect the contemporary form of murals from the last decade. Fresno, California is also on the list thanks to a program that leans toward being from the tradition of community-driven murals.
The Painted Desert Project from Navajo Nation, in Arizona and New Mexico, is the rural cousin to city based programming by bringing murals to isolated sites. Led by one curator, Dr. Chip Thomas, the work is a balance of both the newer street art movement and decades old community storytelling tradition.
Portland, Oregon, another city with an influential mural program, was not listed.
Ugo Rondinone’s 'Seven Magic Mountains' I Photo: PtD
ANOTHER MENTION: Smithsonian lists 'Seven Magic Mountains' as one of "six recently completed outdoor art installations worth traveling to this summer." It's in good company. Smithsonian also recommended "Beartooth Portal" in Montana, "ARC '89" in Germany, 'Swale" in New York City, "Owens Lake Project' in California, and "The Starry Night" in Taiwan I Smithsonian
From May: PtD street art safari.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.