Las Vegas is best known for its glittering lights, 24-hour casinos, and nonstop nightlife, but it’s also a place to experience art. True to Vegas’ flashy reputation, most of the art isn’t found in museums — but rather in nontraditional installations, on the streets, and even along the famous Strip.
ON THE CUTTING EDGE: AREA15
AREA15 is a dramatic addition to the Las Vegas art scene. The massive warehouse-like space is home to Omega Mart by Meow Wolf, a Santa Fe-based art collective that’s grown into a full-scale entertainment force.
The immersive installation is a provocative grocery store spoof with “portals” that lead to the “corporate offices” behind it. Along the way, guests encounter individual multimedia pieces — some contributed by local artists. Pulse by Claudia Bueno, for example, is a room of layered acrylic plexiglass animated by light patterns.
AREA15 also blurs the line between art and entertainment with Wink World: Portals Into the Infinite (a colorful room-to-room journey by a Blue Man Group co-founder); Museum Fiasco “Cluster” (a hall of infinity mirrors with the energy and music of a nightclub); and Art Island (parking-lot installations that include a towering owl, the remains of a jet fuselage, and a reimagined version of the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign).
THE DOWNTOWN ARTS SCENE
Vegas’ Downtown Arts District has morphed into a hub for local creators and street murals. Art Square and the Arts Factory are popular destinations for galleries, showrooms, and workspaces. Explore both during First Friday, a free art walk and block party.
The Fremont East district features street art created for the Life Is Beautiful Music & Art Festival, which takes place in September. Installations include Mike Ross’ Big Rig Jig, a display of intertwined trucks at Fergusons Downtown. Murals inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement have also emerged at the site of the long-shuttered Moulin Rouge, the first desegregated casino in Las Vegas.
INDIE ARTISTS ON THE STRIP
Even the famous Las Vegas Strip is getting artsy. The Fashion Show mall makes a point to champion a variety of independent art — from a pair of hand-painted staircases near the east entrance to Katy Boynton’s Heartfullness, a steel heart sculpture once displayed at the Burning Man festival.
At the Museum of Dream Space at the Grand Canal Shoppes, projections, lights, and other 3-D components form a series of selfie stations. A similar exhibit, the Museum of Selfies, is on display at The LINQ Promenade. Much like AREA15, both prove that art and entertainment aren’t mutually exclusive, and — at least on occasion — the most interesting piece of art could be … you.
Marriott's Grand Chateau
WHERE TO STAY
Couple your art-forward vacation with a stay at Marriott’s Grand Chateau®, located just off the Las Vegas Strip. In addition to easy access to the city’s best sights and experiences, you’ll find your home-away-from-home offers extraordinary views from the rooftop, where you can swim in the afternoon or sip cocktails at Skybar 38 in the evening.
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