Sculpture: “Bliss Dance”, Marco Cochrane. Photo by @theparkvegas on Instagram.
When you think of artsy cities, Las Vegas probably isn’t high on your list. But maybe it should be. The Park, a newer, outdoor public space, has become an unexpected hub of sculpture, pop-up exhibitions, and art-related activities. Situated in an entertainment and dining district between the New York-New York Hotel and Casino and the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, The Park is a rare artistic escape tucked into a bustling area near the T-Mobile Arena.
The Park’s most recognizable piece, “Bliss Dance” by Marco Cochrane (above), is a sculpture of naked dancing woman that measures 40-feet in height and was inspired by the artist’s maiden voyage to Burning Man. “It represents female strength, self-confidence and expression, and sends the message that everyone should find their bliss,” says Don Thrasher, president of The Park.
Photo: @theparkvegas on Instagram.
Other artistic inclusions in The Park include 16 massive, flower-like shade structures. Designed by a New York architecture firm and fabricated in the Netherlands, they loom over the area at 55 to 75 feet tall. During the day, these steel structures cast creative shadows on the ground; at night, they “chime” visually every 15 minutes thanks to color-changing LED lights. Sculptural waterscapes are also dispersed throughout the space.
The newest addition to The Park arrives Oct. 17 and comes from world renowned Lego artist Nathan Sawaya (who we profiled earlier this year). “Park People” is an installation of nine life-sized, monochromatic Lego sculptures that are positioned throughout the area, waiting for visitors to come by and talk.
Sculpture: “Park People”, Nathan Sawaya.
“We initiated a partnership with Nathan Sawaya because of his incredible artistic skills and passion for making art as accessible to people as possible,” Thrasher says. “‘Park People’ was just recently displayed on the South Lawn of the White House and President Obama even sat with the pieces to have a chat! We look forward to watching the exhibit continue to inspire guests to admire these playful pieces.”
Photo: Provided by The Park Vegas.
In addition to sculptures, ongoing art-related activities are held in The Park. In a partnership with Ruzo Logic and Urban Street Artz, pop-up exhibitions of local art have taken over the space three times since The Park’s opening six months ago. Another pop-up is scheduled for later this month. During the pop-ups, dozens of “Guerrila Kages” (tri-sided, 8-foot canvases) display art in traditional styles like oil and acrylic paintings as well as modern mediums like spray-painted canvases. What’s more, every last Wednesday of the month between 6 and 9 p.m., visitors can paint their own work outdoors in the space. A $25 registration fee includes all the necessary painting supplies.
The Park’s goal with its art initiatives is to “offer new, diverse moments that entice our visitors to come back again and again,” Thrasher says. “Public art plays an important role in creating that overall experience. By placing both temporary and permanent pieces throughout we are providing our guests with topics of conversation, photo moments, and excitement as they explore The Park.”
While there is no official curator at The Park, the space will “continue to partner with artists and feature incredible art collections in our outdoor space as it allows us to offer new, fun experiences for our guests to enjoy each time they return,” Thrasher says. “MGM Resorts has long been committed to contributing to the arts in Las Vegas. The Park is quickly becoming an art hub for the Strip and we look forward to being able to continue to offer a variety of art mediums for our guests to interact with and enjoy.”