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Arts community demanding spotlight in Las Vegas
Question of the Day
The Smith Center, a temple of visual and performing arts, is easily the most grandiose of Las Vegas’ new cultural institutions.
Its inaugural season will feature cellist Yo-Yo Ma, author David Sedaris, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Broadway hits “Wicked,” “Mary Poppins” and “The Color Purple.” Its campus includes a jazz cafe, a children’s museum, a small park earmarked for outdoor concerts and an ornate bell tower that has transformed downtown Las Vegas’ skyline.
Locals seem eager to embrace the performance center as their own. More than 10,000 season subscriptions have been sold, exceeding the Smith Center’s early projections. In a nod to the city’s many low-income workers, tickets start at $24.
“We’ve been very careful to make sure we are not building something for the rich and famous,” said Martin.
The center also houses several classrooms designed to introduce local students to the arts and promote academic achievement, a difficult feat in a state with the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation. On a recent morning, 60 teachers from area schools were invited to the Smith Center to prepare for upcoming fieldtrips to the Alvin Ailey performance.
The Las Vegas Philharmonic plans to perform its most ambitious pieces yet and expand to a 10-concert season under its residency at the Smith Center. An upcoming show will feature the score from Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 romantic comedy “City Lights” as the silent film is projected on a screen.
“Most people in the world, in our country, don’t have any idea that we have culture,” said Jeri Crawford, president of the professional orchestra. “If we ever have a change, it will be with the Smith Center.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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