Las Vegas is known as a city that has extravagant buildings, incredible sights, and where you should be prepared to be amazed or even a little overwhelmed. While most people think of massive resorts or hotel casinos, this basic idea continues to expand to other areas in Vegas including places like The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The Smith Center doesn’t just commit to extending the influence of the performing arts in the city of Las Vegas, but it is extremely impressive as part of Symphony Park in the downtown of Vegas. The Smith Center itself takes up 5 acres and consists of two buildings that feature three separate and distinctive theaters.
How The Smith Center Came To Be
The funds for the Smith Center were raised and ground broke on the project in 2009. The downtown project of Symphony Park was a concerted effort by Las Vegas to bring areas of enormous benefit to the city and revitalize the economy by creating worthy places to visit outside of gambling and casinos while also providing an area that could enrich the lives of locals as well.
March 10, 2012 was the opening date for the Smith Center and it has been a major focal point of independent performing arts within the city. They have done well to live up to the reputation of the facilities. Not only was the Smith Center for the Performing Arts the very first performing arts center in all of the United States to be awarded “Gold” level certification by the Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED).
There were several influences in choosing the unique design that sets the Smith Center apart from other buildings in the downtown Symphony Park. Even in the beginning the general idea was floated that the building should have some design nod to the nearby Hoover Dam, being one of the architectural wonders of the world. David M. Schwartz would come on board to help oversee the choice of design and the buildings that make up the Smith Center would be considered Neo Art Deco in design.
This influence has done a great job of creating a beautiful looking building that is still fully effective and blends in beautifully with the surrounding downtown park. This is the ideal situation for an art center and in that regards the Smith Center has passed with flying colors, something that is not always easy to do in Vegas.
The Smith Center carries a nice balance of bringing in outside and visiting acts while also being home to a variety of high class performing groups that call Las Vegas home. The Smith Center makes a concerted effort to provide a wide variety of shows, featuring things like international music, symphony performances, independent theater, and more.
Currently, the Nevada Ballet Theatre calls The Smith Center home and put on multiple public performances throughout the year. This is also the home of the respected Las Vegas Philharmonic. This means any time you have a desire for classical music or ballet you know where to go. There are many different shows that move through on a weekly basis here, and the Smith Center is going to continue to do so as long as it is still run by current CEO Myron Martin.
The three performing theater areas in the Smith Center are:
- Cabaret Jazz Theater
- Reynolds Hall
- Troesh Studio Theater
In addition to seeing multiple shows in these theaters, it’s worth noting that the Smith Center has also been chosen as the new home for the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum. While originally there were plans to add a fourth theater, between the three in use and the fact there were so many areas in Las Vegas where large performances could be held, it made sense to make the adjustment to use that space for the museum instead.
There is a 2 acre outdoor park/lawn that allows for outside performances, as well. Whether you like to see Shakespeare while outside or listen to an outdoor concerto, there are plenty of outdoor activities included in the yearly show schedule.
In addition to all these theaters there are a variety of other traits of the Smith Center worth keeping an eye on like:
- The 17 story tower with over 47 bells attached
- The Elaine Wynn Studio, which is dedicated to arts education
- The stunning grand lobby
- Mezzanine Lounge
- Founder’s Room
This allows a wide variety of shows, activities, and teaching classes and demonstrations to all take place at this Center. Prior to its construction, Las Vegas was one of the largest cities in the country not to have a performing arts center and in Vegas style they remedied that in serious style.
What Does The Future Hold?
While no one can know for sure what the future might hold, it is worth taking a look at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts and how they have already been done a wide number of amazing performances, it’s easy to predict that there will be many more in the future. There’s no question that while there are so many things to see Symphony Park, the Smith Center despite its relatively small size stature in comparison truly delivers big on the culture, on the entertainment, and on connecting performing art in all its forms with the surrounding community.
Whatever the future holds, it will be interesting to see what direction they will go.