Museum Project Plans Hang in the Balance

Since the closing of the arts museum on West Sahara, Las Vegas has lacked a major counterweight to its wild side.

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Since the closing of the arts museum on West Sahara, the Las Vegas arts community has lacked a new institution to fill the gap.

Luminous Park is a local non-profit that has been pushing for a contemporary art museum in the city for several years. The incentives seem to be in place, with the city willing to put up $2 million in grants toward the cost of construction, which some estimates place at $50 million.

However, the Las Vegas City Council recently put talks regarding a preliminary development deal on hold, due to one member’s concerns. Although talks are set to resume on July 1, the hiccup may prompt the Luminous Park board to modify the proposal.

Originally proposed for a site in the city’s Arts District near Charleston Boulevard and Main Street, the museum may well take shape only three quarters of a mile north in Symphony Park. Considering that the park is home to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the location would seem to be a natural choice.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently noted that the organization’s board members may be swayed into moving the museum project to the area left vacant by the failed soccer stadium project. That site is also the proposed home of another non-taxable project, a tax-funded parking garage.

A Tourism Improvement District put in place by local authorities would fund development of the parking garage, and tax-exempt projects currently abound in the area. The possibility of stacking the two projects on the same parcel arose but was not formally considered, LVRJ points out.