Friday, October 7, 2011

Free and Easy (Art) in Las Vegas

By Wednesday it was clear this would not be the trip we envisioned when we left the dark, damp Pacific Northwest last weekend.  The same clouds we thought we’d left behind were covering this sun-seeker paradise, rain was  falling, and that, coupled with wind blew any plans for poolside basking  out the window. 
So what to do?

Here’s our Strip Tip for rainy day entertainment:  A Do It Yourself Art Tour that costs nothing (unless of course you can’t resist buying a piece to take home).
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First stop:  Bellagio Resort Casino lobby where internationally-known-glass-artist-Pacific-Northwest-son Dale Chihuly’s flower sculpture , a 2,100 square foot chandelier fills the hotel lobby ceiling. There are 1,600 individual hand blown glass pieces (each weighing about 50 pounds.) that make up the piece inspired by Italy’s Lake Como and created at the Venini Factory in Venice.

polotowersscottsdale 015 Walk through the lobby to get to the the seasonal garden displays at the  Bellagio’s Conservatory. Designers have again created a seasonal whimsical setting that shouldn’t be missed.  This fall’s display includes a pumpkin made of 2,000 fresh carnation blooms and red apples made of red rose buds. And a framed art piece (pictured) made of flowers and greens.

polotowersscottsdale 017 Walk through the Bellagio casino to the Cirque du Soleil “O” Theatre Lobby and  gallery that showcases the figurative sculptures of Richard Macdonald. His passion for dance is captured in the dancers, mimes and performers highlighted in his pieces.   Watch a video of dancers and the artist capturing their moves as a piece is created.  No admission cost, art is for sale.

Macdonald is currently working on a massive piece – a tribute to the founder of The Royal Ballet that will be installed next year in London’s Hyde Park.

It will cost to tour  Bellagio’s Gallery of Fine Art (admission $15/adult) but in the current display (through January 2012) you’ll see pieces from Monet to Hockney that compare and contrast expressionism in landscape art.

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A new Bellagio gallery that opened within the last year– Jeff Mitchum Galleries –is next door to the Fine Art Gallery in a space once occupied by the fine art gallery shop. Walls are filled with Mitchum’s stunning light and landscape photography. Open daily at 10 a.m. Free admission, art is for sale.
Staff in each gallery were eager to talk about their artist and his work. At the Mitchum gallery art consultant, Jerry Olivarez, who was staffing  the gallery desk, was a great source of information about  the Las Vegas visual arts community.

polotowersscottsdale 023 One of our ‘fun finds’ this trip was on the second floor of City Center’s Cosmopolitan Hotel, just south of Bellagio.  As its name, Art-o-mat, implies  it is a vending machine for art. It is one of six they have in this property – reportedly the only place in Nevada you will currently find them. They are old cigarette vending machines that have been recycled into hip, retro style art vendors.  Insert $5, choose an artist and out comes a piece of art boxed and wrapped inside cellophane.

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