It’s been more than three years since the Las Vegas Art Museum closed its doors at the Sahara West Library, leaving behind a collection of pieces acquired since 1974.
Today , however, these works come to life again, thanks to a partnership with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the reopening of the Marjorie Barrick Museum, which is set to house the collection.
Jerry Schefcik, Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery director, said the exhibition’s title, "Into the Light," is fitting, given its history.
"The exhibition is called ‘Into the Light ‘ because (the artwork) has been out of the light for three years," Schefcik said. "The partnership gives an opportunity for the collection to be seen."
The Barrick Museum closed Jan. 9 for renovations in anticipation of adding the Las Vegas Art Museum collection. A grand reopening event for the public is planned from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday , something Patrick Duffy, Las Vegas Art Museum board president, anticipates will be a benefit to more than just UNLV students.
"I think the important thing with the opening is that it’s all about the community," Duffy said. "I would hope that the community would support this opening and support the visual arts."
The exhibition features works from former and current UNLV students and several Southern Nevada artists. Duffy said working with UNLV forms a "logical partner within Las Vegas" that will fill the need for a prominent fine art museum in the community.
"If you look at universities from San Francisco to Texas to New Mexico, you’ll find an art museum at their universities," Duffy said. "If we’re really going to reinvent the art scene in Las Vegas … let’s bring that to the college of fine arts here. I think that’s what this arrangement is going to do."
Schefcik said that joining the Las Vegas Art Museum creates a synergy needed in bolstering the art community and the university.
"(The partnership) is a reaffirmation of the need for a fine art museum in Southern Nevada, and what better place than the university?" Schefcik said. "I think for the general educational mission of the university, to include the visual arts – in my mind – helps complete the role of a university in the community."
Among goals for the partnership, Schefcik and Duffy hope to work with the Clark County School District in developing programs and hosting field trips for students. Duffy said introducing children to the museum also exposes them to the college campus atmosphere.
"If we’re able to bring the Clark County students in, we can introduce them to UNLV," Duffy said. "In the Clark County School District, a lot of the arts have been removed. Hopefully, bringing them in will be of interest to the students with the aspect of the museum and the quiet, contemplative setting around them."
Beyond younger generations and UNLV students, Schefcik hopes residents throughout the valley take advantage of a fine arts museum with works that aren’t typically found in other area galleries.
"I think this (exhibition) will give people a greater love and appreciation for the visual arts and an understanding of what is happening in Southern Nevada," Schefcik said. "(The museum is) hoped to become a staple in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada. I hope it’s a place for residents to come and enjoy and return time and time again."
For more information on the Marjorie Barrick Museum, call 895-3381 or visit barrickmuseum.unlv.edu.