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An expanded Cirque du Soleil art exhibit reveals further talents

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Works from Parade: The Collective, showcasing Cirque du Soleil employees’ art.
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When Maximiliano Torandell hurt his back several years ago, he faced the potential end of his livelihood. Facing months of recovery and no certain outcome, he asked himself, “What is my passion, besides being onstage?” The Argentinian aerialist remembered being inspired by creative possibilities when he’d modeled for photo shoots. So he took a community college photography class and found his second love.

Today, Torandell’s back is healed, and he’s a full-time performer in Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson One. But he hasn’t given up his love of photography. You can see his work this month in Parade: The Collective, the 12th annual showcase of art by Cirque du Soleil employees.

Torandell creates 2D sculptural portraits of his friends and fellow performers. He lights his subjects with LEDs and shoots through a box covered with plastics. The results are dreamy, colorful and Photoshop-free.

This year, the show will be held at the Neonopolis’ Metropolitan Gallery of Las Vegas Art Museum, which offers enough space for artists to show three pieces instead of one. “I’m really excited,” says Torandell, who has shown at previous Parade exhibits. “I want to present the whole series. I want to have the whole room … but, slowly.”

A total of 33 artists will share their illustrations, sculptures, paintings and even animatronics. Look for Brent Sommerhauser’s sculptures—the beloved Las Vegas artist also works as a props technician for One. Additional highlights include wax paintings by Zumanity stage manager Emily Carr, fanciful illustrations by O lighting technician Derek Shipman and magical images by Mystère performer Kent Caldwell.

“One of the beautiful things—but also nerve wracking—is that there’s no restrictions on what people can submit,” project coordinator Brooke Wahlquist says. She describes being impressed by a detailed New York City skyline done in wood by financial analyst Rasitha Kumarasinghe. “I would not have walked into the finance department and thought that one of our analysts would have such a passion on the side.”

Parade: The Collective Through June 30; Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m., $5. Opening reception June 1, 6-8 p.m., free. Metropolitan Gallery of Las Vegas Art Museum, Neonopolis, 450 Fremont Street #270, 702-382-2926.

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