May 26, 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada - On May 26, the City of Las Vegas celebrated the groundbreaking of its first world-class performing arts facility, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Designed by architect David M. Schwarz this impressive world-class performing arts center will be home to Nevada Ballet Theatre, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Broadway shows and first-run touring attractions visiting the city.
Considerable groundwork has already been laid with unique public and private partnerships. The City of Las Vegas has provided the land, infrastructure and parking for the facility. In addition, the City of Las Vegas, Clark County, and State Legislature collaborated on a car rental fee which will result in a bond of at least $125 million.
The private funding campaign was launched by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation with a landmark gift of $50 million in 2005, in honor of their chairman, Fred W. Smith, and his wife Mary. Since then, The Reynolds Foundation has continued their generosity, pledging an additional $100 million challenge grant. This gift is the largest philanthropic donation in state history and combined with their initial contribution it is the second largest donation to the performing arts in the United States.
Symphony Park, Cultural Heart of Las Vegas
The Smith Center is located downtown in the 61-acre Symphony Park, Las Vegas' first modern-day city neighborhood.
Symphony Park is a public/private development between the City of Las Vegas, landowner and master developer, and Newland Communities, chosen by the city as project manager in December 2005.
The 379,000 sq. ft. Smith Center is one of several signature developments at Symphony Park including: The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health; Residential Neighborhoods by Newland Communities; The Charlie Palmer, a luxury boutique hotel; World Jewelry Center by Heritage-Nevada VIII, LLC; and a Casino/Hotel/Retail Complex by Forest City.
The Smith Center Groundbreaking Ceremony
One of the main features of The Smith Center is its carillon bell tower and 36 carillon bells that play in three octaves.
The groundbreaking ceremony featured the creation of one of the carillion bells by Cincinnati-based bell manufacturers, The Verdin Company, who brought their portable bell foundry onsite to forge the inscripted brass bell.
Over 100 special guests and dignitaries were in attendance when the newly-cast carillion bell was rung for the first time at the official ceremony. The bell is inscribed with a quote from President Barack Obama: "The arts embody the human spirit."