In a bold move to shed its title as the largest US city without a dedicated art institution, Las Vegas is forging ahead with plans for the creation of the Las Vegas Museum of Art. Set to grace the burgeoning cultural landscape of Symphony Park, the museum is slated to make its home alongside the esteemed Smith Center for the Performing Arts within this five-acre downtown arts district.
This ambitious pursuit envisions a $150 million architectural wonder, spanning an impressive 60,000 to 90,000 square feet over three floors. Still, with the construction anticipated to kick off in 2026, art enthusiasts must temper their excitement until the forecasted opening in 2028.
The financial backbone of this venture is none other than Elaine Wynn, the influential board chair and CEO of Wynn Resorts. A dedicated trustee of the Las Vegas Museum of Art and a board member of the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), Wynn’s connections promise a trove of loaned masterpieces from LACMA’s prized collection to be featured at Las Vegas’ newest cultural jewel.
Further buoying the project’s foundation is $5 million in seed funding from the Nevada state legislature—an endorsement of the arts’ vital role in the fabric of local society.
This news revives fond memories of the original Las Vegas Art Museum, born in 1974 from the Las Vegas Art League’s remnants. Having found a temporary home in Lorenzi Park’s city-owned ranch house, the museum weathered diverse venues and challenges over the decades. The 90s saw the museum morph into a senior center, its collections relocated to adorn a shared space with a public library, enduring until the economic downturn of 2009 saw its doors close.
Orphaned artworks found solace in 2012 within the walls of the renovated Barrick Museum at UNLV. The former museum’s abode now serves as an art gallery for Sahara West’s Las Vegas-Clark County Library branch.
Even as Reno’s Nevada Museum of Art flirted with a Las Vegas expansion in 2017, ultimately aborted in 2020 amidst a funding famine, Las Vegas’s resolve for its own art haven never wavered—testament to the city’s evolving cultural aspirations that extend far beyond its famed neon-lit skyline.