Envisioning the ideal city: Seeing new possibilities through art

Donovan Fitzgerald at the Window inside the Ogden.
Photo: Sam Morris

Forgive the hyperbole, but not since Classical Greece have thinkers tossed around concepts of the ideal city as much as the general citizenry does here in contemporary Downtown Las Vegas. It’s the undying conversation in classrooms, startup nooks and crannies, bars and coffee shops—even the cause of stormy dustups between otherwise like-minded folk.

This week, the conversations pour in and out of the Window at the Ogden, where classical artist Donovan Fitzgerald has settled for the month to render in chalk allegorical images of the ideal city on cement pillars.

Loosely termed “North Star,” the Las Vegas artist’s residency accompanies an additional three-month exhibit of his works and is part of a new interactive art project designed to enrich and further connect the community through artists and their work.

“The idea is really to activate the space to enrich the city,” says David Gould, Director of Imagination at Downtown Project, adding that Fitzgerald will be focusing on symbolic imagery, drawing from literature, philosophy and justice. “The chalk drawings set the tone for this initiative.”

A painter steeped in the classical tradition, Fitzgerald studied French academic painting, follows theology as a hobby and, at age 8, began an obsession with the High Renaissance.

More Plato than Aristotle, Fitzgerald is only the first artist in the program, which gives three-month exhibits to the rotating artists, all of whom will have a community component to their work in the co-learning space at 150 Las Vegas Blvd. N. (at Ogden Avenue). His visit at the Window will include live model drawing sessions, student interaction (including elementary-age students rendering their ideal cities) and artist residencies. Moreover, it might spur further dialogue about beauty, justice and the ideal city.

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Kristen Peterson

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