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Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art: Art among the neon lights

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Art thrives in downtown Las Vegas with the Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art located in Neonopolis. While the glitter of neon will always be a part of downtown Las Vegas, its revitalization and transformation continues to grow as a cultural center.

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The museum, founded in 2002, moved downtown in 2008 with 20,000 square feet of exhibit area, main gallery, special exhibitions gallery and small works gallery exhibiting local, regional and International artists.

Recently, the museum held a mixer for artists and members and as a way to introduce the museum to potential members. Joseph Palermo Recent Works exhibit (showing through July 4), was featured to honor Palermo, first president and executive director of the Las Vegas Art Museum when it was established and the later SNMFA introducing international art to the downtown community including locals and tourists.

Mark Rowland, the new executive director of SNMFA, spoke fondly of Palermo. “My association with Joe Palermo, in part, is what brought me to the museum. Originally when I came here 10 years ago, I was (also) encouraged to come here by Jack Solomon of the S2 Art Group.”

As for plans for the museum, Rowland said, “our first agenda is cosmetic.” He explained that the space was going to be completely overhauled including paint, lighting, signage and other touches. “We actually dedicated a special meeting room named after our former director Joseph Palermo called Palermo Hall. This facility will be used by other nonprofit groups and other individuals who want to hold meetings.”

On Thursday and Friday evening, illustrator Jamie Crook will teach a black and white drawing class and artist Betty Kristoff will teach a class on oil painting.

There will be continuing shows, some of a historical and academic nature and some strictly for the love of art. One upcoming project is partnering with the Anne Frank organization and bringing in its collection that has been displayed in New York City and Israel. Other projects will be brought in internationally including China.

According to Rowland, “Our whole intention is to take this museum and turn it into something that is beyond what people would expect out of a museum.”

The museum is located on the second level of Neonopolis complex at the east end of the Fremont Street Experience, between 4th Street and Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. Neonopolis features two levels of underground parking with the entrance to the garage parking on 4th Street. For more information, visit www.snmfa.com.

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