The master planned community of Summerlin® that spans the Las Vegas Valley’s western edge has many distinctive features that have become community identifiers, including double-tree-lined sidewalks, special light fixtures that minimize nighttime light pollution, roundabouts that keep traffic moving smoothly by reducing vehicular idling, and signature landscaping and architectural styles unique to each village or district. Add to that a growing number of public art installations that help to create a strong sense of place and build community pride while adding color and meaning to special spaces.
According to Danielle Bisterfeldt, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Experience for Summerlin, public art within a community has cultural, social, and economic value via unique artistic expression.
“Public art, by its very definition, is accessible to all. Since Summerlin’s inception more than three decades ago, public art pieces were carefully commissioned and placed, usually in high profile locations, to establish a true sense of place,” said Bisterfeldt. “Today, we are continuing to add to the collection with new and future commissions.”
One of the original sculptures in Summerlin is “Spirit Tower” by famed Nevada artist Rita Deanin Abbey, which graces the entrance to the Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center. Standing more than 20 feet tall, the sculpture has long welcomed visitors to the library which has become a symbol of culture in the community with performing groups and productions booked more than a year in advance.
Next door is the Donald W. Reynolds Cultural Center, home of Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT), the state’s oldest professional performing arts organization that recently marked its 50th anniversary. Built on land donated in part by Howard Hughes, developer of Summerlin, NBT has long contributed to the cultural enrichment of both the immediate community and the greater Las Vegas Valley. At the entrance to the building which houses the company’s administrative offices, practice facilities, and student academy, is a bronze sculpture by Mario Jason.
Three places of business in Summerlin boast spectacular outdoor bronze sculptures, including “Engaging Curve” by Jon Seeman at Hills Center North Business Park; “Unity” by Archie Held at a business park across from the Trails Village Center; and “Flight Invoked” by Louis Longi at Roseman University of Health Sciences.
At Downtown Summerlin®, the community’s vibrant urban core, the newest art installation is a giant mural that graces three sides of the 1700 Pavilion parking structure – the center’s newest and most iconic office building that houses national, regional, and local companies, including Wynn Design & Development that occupies the top two floors. Designed by local artist and Summerlin resident, Bonnie Kelso, the mural features a unique perspective that allows guests walking past the building to enjoy a different visual experience than what is viewed from afar. Most importantly, Kelso’s vision is authentic to her own Summerlin experience. Her design’s clean simplicity and use of color reflects the nearby Red Rock Canyon and celebrates Summerlin’s active, outdoor lifestyle.
A new sculpture, to be designed with a maximum height of 35 feet, will be added next year at Downtown Summerlin on the northwest corner of Sahara Ave. and Town Center Dr. The sculpture will serve as a centerpiece of a future retail development. The search for the winning design from a Nevada-based artist is currently underway via a Request for Proposal.
Four sculptures in The Willows Park are a nod to Aesop’s Fables, featuring “The Tortoise” and “The Hare” from the fable of the same name, as well as “The Lion and The Mouse.” According to Bisterfeldt, the animal sculptures have long served as landmarks for those meeting up along The Willows Park trailway and arroyo.
And finally, two very special memorials in the community pay solemn and beautiful tribute to important historic and community figures. The Barbara G. Edwards Memorial at Palo Verde High School was erected in 2002 to memorialize popular and beloved Palo Verde teacher Barbara Edwards, who tragically lost her life on Sept. 11, 2001, when her hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon. School and community officials gather at the site on Sept. 11 yearly to pay tribute to Edwards and others who lost their lives that fateful day.
At Temple Beth Sholom, one of two Jewish temples in Summerlin, the Warsaw Ghetto Remembrance Garden memorializes more than 350,000 Jews who, in 1940, were forcibly exiled by German soldiers to a small area within Warsaw, enclosed by 10-foot walls topped with barbed wire and broken glass, otherwise known as the Warsaw Ghetto. The garden features the nation’s largest collection of stones that once paved the streets of the notorious district. The Garden is intended to benefit all Southern Nevadans, and visits can be arranged by calling Temple Beth Sholom.
Now in its 33rd year of development, Summerlin offers more amenities than any other Southern Nevada community, including 300-plus parks of all sizes; 200-plus miles of interconnected trails; resident-exclusive community centers; ten golf courses; 26 public, private and charter schools; a public library and performing arts center; Summerlin Hospital Medical Center; houses of worship representing a dozen different faiths; office parks; neighborhood shopping centers; and, of course, Downtown Summerlin®, offering fashion, dining, entertainment, Red Rock Resort, Class-A office buildings, City National Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights National Hockey League practice facility, and Las Vegas Ballpark®, a world-class Triple-A baseball stadium.
In total, Summerlin currently offers over 100 floorplans in 20 neighborhoods throughout eight distinct villages and districts. Homes, built by many of the nation’s top homebuilders, are available in a variety of styles – from single-family homes to townhomes, priced from the $400,000s to more than $1 million. For information on all actively selling neighborhoods, visit Summerlin.com. Before you visit any new Summerlin neighborhood, please call the homebuilder to check on hours of operation. Phone numbers for each neighborhood are on Summerlin.com.