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Summerlin features public art, historic memorials

The master-planned community of Summerlin, which spans the Las Vegas Valley’s western edge, has many distinctive features that have become community identifiers, including double-tree-lined sidewalks, special light fixtures that minimize nighttime light pollution, roundabouts that keep traffic moving smoothly by reducing vehicular idling, and signature landscaping and architectural styles unique to each village or district.

Add to that a growing number of public art installations that help to create a strong sense of place and build community pride while adding color and meaning to special spaces.

According to Danielle Bisterfeldt, senior vice president of marketing and consumer experience for Summerlin, public art within a community has cultural, social and economic value via unique artistic expression.

“Public art, by its very definition, is accessible to all. Since Summerlin’s inception more than three decades ago, public art pieces were carefully commissioned and placed, usually in high-profile locations, to establish a true sense of place,” Bisterfeldt said. “Today, we are continuing to add to the collection with new and future commissions.”

One of the original sculptures in Summerlin is “Spirit Tower” by famed Nevada artist Rita Deanin Abbey, which graces the entrance to the Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center. Standing more than 20 feet tall, the sculpture has long welcomed visitors to the library, which has become a symbol of culture in the community with performing groups and productions booked more than a year in advance.

Next door is the Donald W. Reynolds Cultural Center, home of Nevada Ballet Theatre, the state’s oldest professional performing arts organization, which recently marked its 50th anniversary. Built on land donated in part by Howard Hughes, developer of Summerlin, Nevada Ballet Theatre has long contributed to the cultural enrichment of both the immediate community and the greater Las Vegas Valley. At the entrance to the building, which houses the company’s administrative offices, practice facilities and student academy, is a bronze sculpture by Mario Jason.

Three places of business in Summerlin boast spectacular outdoor bronze sculptures, including “Engaging Curve” by Jon Seeman at Hills Center North Business Park; “Unity” by Archie Held at a business park across from the Trails Village Center; and “Flight Invoked” by Louis Longi at Roseman University of Health Sciences.

At Downtown Summerlin, the community’s urban core, the newest art installation is a giant mural that graces three sides of the 1700 Pavilion parking structure — the center’s newest and most iconic office building housing national, regional and local companies, including Wynn Design &Development, which occupies the top two floors.

Designed by local artist and Summerlin resident Bonnie Kelso, the mural features a unique perspective that allows guests walking past the building to enjoy a different visual experience than what is viewed from afar. And Kelso’s vision is authentic to her own Summerlin experience. Her design’s clean simplicity and use of color reflects the nearby Red Rock Canyon and celebrates Summerlin’s active, outdoor lifestyle.

A new sculpture, to be designed with a maximum height of 35 feet, will be added next year at Downtown Summerlin on the northwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Town Center Drive. The sculpture will serve as a centerpiece of a future retail development. The search for the winning design from a Nevada-based artist is underway via a request for proposal.

Four sculptures in The Willows Park are a nod to Aesop’s Fables, featuring “The Tortoise” and “The Hare” from the fable of the same name, and “The Lion and the Mouse.” According to Bisterfeldt, the animal sculptures have long served as landmarks for those meeting up along The Willows Park trail and arroyo.

And finally, two very special memorials in the community pay solemn and beautiful tribute to important historic and community figures.

The Barbara G. Edwards Memorial at Palo Verde High School was erected in 2002 to memorialize popular and beloved Palo Verde teacher Barbara Edwards, who tragically lost her life on Sept. 11, 2001, when her hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon. School and community officials gather at the site on Sept. 11 yearly, to pay tribute to Edwards and others who lost their lives that day.

At Temple Beth Sholom, one of two Jewish temples in Summerlin, the Warsaw Ghetto Remembrance Garden memorializes more than 350,000 Jews who, in 1940, were forcibly exiled by German soldiers to a small area within Warsaw, enclosed by 10-foot walls topped with barbed wire and broken glass. The garden features the nation’s largest collection of stones that once paved the streets of the notorious district. The garden is intended to benefit all Southern Nevadans, and visits can be arranged by calling Temple Beth Sholom.

Now, in its 33rd year of development, Summerlin offers more amenities than any other Southern Nevada community, including 300-plus parks of all sizes; 200-plus miles of interconnected trails; resident-exclusive community centers; 10 golf courses; 26 public, private and charter schools; a public library and performing arts center; Summerlin Hospital Medical Center; houses of worship representing a dozen different faiths; office parks and neighborhood shopping centers.

Downtown Summerlin offers fashion, dining, entertainment, Red Rock Resort and Class-A office buildings. The City National Arena is home of the Vegas Golden Knights’ practice facility. The Las Vegas Ballpark is a world-class Triple-A baseball stadium.

Summerlin offers over 100 floor plans in 20 neighborhoods throughout eight distinct villages and districts. Homes, built by many of the nation’s top homebuilders, are available in a variety of styles — from single-family homes to town homes, priced from the $400,000s to more than $1 million.

For information on all actively selling neighborhoods, visit Summerlin.com. Before you visit any new Summerlin neighborhood, call the homebuilder to check on hours of operation. Phone numbers for each neighborhood are on Summerlin.com.

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