Life rendered: Looking at the selection process for this year’s Life Is Beautiful art component

The Chuck Close tapestry at the ‘Art Odyssey’ is taken down on the closing of the Life Is Beautiful Festival, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013.
Photo: Yasmina Chavez

For last year’s Life Is Beautiful Festival, artists transformed the Town Lodge Motel on Seventh Street into The Odyssey, a multimedia art experience with installations and exhibits taking over first-floor hotel rooms and a Chuck Close tapestry on the illuminated second-floor balcony.

Designed to be accessible (and behave almost as an Art 101 crash course), it highlighted works by artists of all backgrounds. That included painting, collage and digital work by Wendy Kveck, Catherine Borg, Matthew Couper, J.K Russ and UNLV students (among others), as well as VAST Space Projects' meta installation in the hotel lobby—of the lobby—using source material from the hotel.

This year’s LIB art event moves into the Western hotel on Fremont Street, where artists will share the building with the event’s Learning Center, home to the LIB speaker series. The artist and gallery lineup includes new and returning artists Linda Alterwitz, Audrey Barcio, Jevijoe Vitug, JK Russ, VAST Space Projects, Trifecta Gallery, Matthew Couper, Zac Ostrowski, Gina Quaranto, Camilla Quinn Oldenkamp, Miguel Rodriguez, Jesse Smigel, Jerry Misko and students from the Las Vegas Academy.

"I'm really excited. It's so unique, diverse and eclectic and it speaks to so many different art mediums," says Patrick Duffy, the returning curator who selected this year’s artist lineup based on each artist's ending of the phrase, “Life is…,” followed by a corresponding art proposal. "VAST is going to do something over the edge. Jevijoe Vitug is creating something that is philanthropically multipurpose. Miguel Rodriguez's proposal really grabbed my heart."

Also returning this year is Northern California artist Eric Tillinghast, responsible for The Odyssey’s courtyard centerpiece water sculpture, a 30-by-60-foot reservoir and sprinkler system, his homage to the Bellagio Fountains made with yard sprinklers.

Rather than taking over individual rooms, artists and galleries will be represented in one mutual space during the three-day festival beginning October 25. Duffy says their ideas and concepts will be synergistic with the lineup of speakers, and to expect a few surprise additions.

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Kristen Peterson

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