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New Art Museum At Symphony Park Moves Forward

Symphony Park at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Symphony Park at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts

The effort to bring an art museum to Las Vegas has taken a major leap forward.

Earlier this month, it was announced that an acre and a half of land next to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts has been set aside by the city of Las Vegas to house an art museum.

Katie O’Neill is the head of the Board of Directors of the proposed museum. She told KNPR's State of Nevada that the land at Symphony Park is the prime location for the museum.

The next step in the process is to start seeking out donors to help with the estimated $80 million to $85 million price tag.

O'Neill is expecting it will take about six years to get the museum up and running.

“We want it to happen fast," she said, "We don’t want it to drag on and it be this slow painful process.“

Michele Quinn is on the museum’s board. Her company, MCQ Fine Art, is an art advisory and collection management firm. She said energy is already building for the project.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum and a lot of support behind us,” she said.

There have been several attempts by various groups to establish an art museum in Las Vegas. Some have been successful but others have failed.

O'Neill and Quinn are looking at what has worked and what has not. They're also talking with people involved in those projects to get their perspective on creating a successful museum.

“I think Las Vegas is ready to support a fine art museum in this format,” Quinn said, “I think this is the first time there is a realistic format on the table for people to respect and get behind.”

The exact format has not been worked out but Quinn and O'Neill said they are working on creating a strong relationship with the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. 

Quinn said the museum will have a broad appeal.

“We’re trying to provide quality museum-worthy exhibitions that really reach a broader audience whatever that maybe," she said, "It maybe photography. It maybe sculpture… it maybe an exhibition of slot machines and the history of slot machines." 



Katie O'Neill, Chair, Board of Directors of a proposed new art museum for Las Vegas; Michele Quinn of MCQ Fine Art, an art advisory and collection management firm. 

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Since June 2015, Fred has been a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada.