City’s Aerial Gallery moves to First Street as part of Downtown’s Art Trail

Photo: Steve Marcus

About 12 years ago, the city of Las Vegas launched what would be its largest art gallery: 50 banners attached to light posts on Las Vegas Boulevard that featured works by local and national artists. It was a great program. In terms of exposure, it had an audience in the 30,000 cars that moved down that stretch of road daily, said one city staffer.

Exhibits included works by Mary Warner, Gregory Crosby, Jerry Misko, Ginger Bruner, Pasha Rafat and several dozen more. Then in 2008, 50 serial works by Chicago-based cartoonist Ivan Brunetti arrived. The following year, it was floral renditions by Las Vegas artist Dennis Angel. Any of this sound familiar? Maybe? Maybe not?

Problem is, no matter how interesting the exhibits, there was so much visual clutter—billboards, traffic signs, building advertisements—they were easy to miss.

Not anymore. The city is moving the Aerial Gallery over to First Street as part of its Art Trail project, designed to stretch from Boulder Plaza behind the Arts Factory to the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street. It will join all the other revitalization elements in play, including the First Street Beautification project’s trees, sidewalk enhancements, benches and planters. Jesse Smigel’s gnome sculptures in the Boulder Plaza Sculpture Park are the informal launch of the program, which will include a way-finding system, bike lanes, the Aerial Gallery and other artwork planted on the trail.

The Art Trail is still in its early planning stages, but Nancy Deaner, who manages the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, says the Aerial Gallery will be in place this year.

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