A casino may seem like an unlikely ally for the arts, but if you happen to be in Las Vegas, take a look at neon signage at The Cosmopolitan. Written across its facade are messages from none other than Tracey Emin, part of a project called "I Promise to Love You." And that's not the only was The Cosmopolitan has been contributing to the art scene in its home city.
In conjunction with the Art Production Fund, The Cosmopolitan is hosting an Artist-in-Residence program at P3Studio. The program will bring the public into different artists' studios, allowing for interactive experiences with the immersive installations on view. For their 2014 program, The Cosmopolitan has selected works by Alexander Lee, Alexis Dahan, Lucas Michael, Pearl C. Hsiung, Nao Uda, Anthony Holbrooke, Todd Duane Miller and JW Caldwell, Taxiplasm and Renzo Vitale, Justin Favela, Paula Wilson, Mark Brandvik, and JK Russ to go on display at P3Studio throughout the year. We got in touch with The Cosmopolitan’s Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Marchese about the growing art scene in Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan's role in it.
We removed the velvet rope; a visitor can touch, walk around, experience art in a more personal manner.
How did you first develop the Artist-in-Residence Program?
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas targets guests that have a strong sense of discovery and a passion for new experiences. With that in mind, we chose to embrace art as a key component of the overall guest experience. It is critical to stay at the forefront of culture and art, and the Artist-in-Residence program enables us to constantly explore new ideas and artists.
How did you decide on which artists to include this year? Is there an overarching theme or aesthetic that links their work?
There is no one theme that drives P3Studio although we have learned what types of residences resonate with guests and the artists. Those residencies where the experience is highly interactive combined with an artist who is comfortable working in almost a fishbowl setting tend to be the most impactful.
This year P3Studio will feature artists from all over the world—France, Argentina, French Polynesia, Taiwan, Japan, New Zealand—along with artists from around the United States. The artist projects explore a broad set of themes and mediums from those that anchor on technology to those that utilize the most basic, primitive techniques while others explore confluence of both.
What do you think it adds to the viewers’ understanding of art to watch artists at work as opposed to just seeing the final piece?
When guests see, participate, and interact with the artist, the idea suddenly becomes a story vs. a passive experience. The act of participating in the overall creation of a finished concept fundamentally changes the expectations of the guests and the sense of purpose the space embraces. It is about moving around it, touching it, creating it.
After the artists are finished with their residences, where will their works be displayed?
Many works created in P3Studio as a collaboration between the artist and guests become part of our art collection, which can be found throughout the resort. However, oftentimes there isn't tangible work to be displayed because P3Studio is more about the facilitation of meaningful experiences and connections.
We provide a home, a platform that can introduce more and more artists to the Las Vegas community.
Why do you think it is important for organizations that are not thought of as being invested in the arts (like hotels and casinos) to support the arts?
It’s important because we have the opportunity to break down perceptual barriers that commonly exist in art. We removed the velvet rope; a visitor can touch, walk around, experience art in a more personal manner. We take traditionally unused, functional space and create an unexpected installation such as Wallworks, where each level of garage was tagged by artists such as Shepherd Fairey, Retna, and Kenny Scharf.
Which works are you most excited about for this year’s Artist-in-Residence program?
Each project is always as exciting as the next. Our next artist, Pearl Hsiung, will create a digital artwork over the course of her residency that guests will be able to "act" in, create backdrops for and get involved in the production process, and the resulting piece will be displayed on the many digital portals throughout the resort.
Tracy Emin’s "I Promise to Love You" PAUSE piece that is running on digital surfaces throughout the resort and on the 65-foot digital marquee truly takes my breath away each time I see it.
Do you see Las Vegas as a city with a growing hub for art? Or, how would you describe the art scene in Las Vegas?
Absolutely, art is such a focus in this city full of creative forces, and there is so much openness and acceptance that it makes art a natural fit. A number of initiatives around the arts have been established in the past five years, and more are underway, and we are honored to be a part of it.
What is The Cosmopolitan’s role in the Vegas art scene?
In conjunction with great partners, we are bringing a world-class artist community to Las Vegas as well as highlighting local artists. At its most basic, we provide a home, a platform that can introduce more and more artists to the Las Vegas community.
Specifically, the Artist-in-Residence program brings incredible talent in from all over the world to live and work in Las Vegas for about a month each. The artists are completely accessible to anyone, so it is an unmatched opportunity to have a meaningful discussion, share ideas, and hopefully it results in an unexpected experience that you will share with a friend.