I Love Las Vegas: Smith Center

Smith Center Las Vegas LobbyYou might know Las Vegas for it’s glitz and glam, the highrise hotels and celebrity chefs, Cirque shows and all-night parties.

But now, my friends, Las Vegas is going to become a hotspot for the arts, and I am ridiculously excited!

The Smith Center, which is part of Las Vegas’ downtown revitalization project, sits on five acres and is 100% dedicated to arts and culture. The center includes:

  • A massive, multi-level hall with a full orchestra pit, a huge stage for big-name productions and great seats … even in the balconies.
  • A 258-seat cabaret performance space with full meal service. This space reminds me of cabaret clubs in New Orleans.
  • A small black box theatre that has many uses including rehearsal space, small-scale productions and lecture space.

Education and community outreach play a huge part in the Smith Center’s mission. Students and educators will have access to arts and culture materials and presentations, and a number of resident artists will work closely with the center to enhance creative education throughout the community.

Las Vegas has admittedly been missing out when it comes to touring shows, and there are two main reasons for that, in my opinion. First, there are so many shows on the Las Vegas Strip that the competition is ridiculously fierce. Second, there really was no good performance space for the likes of traveling Broadway shows and other acts. The Smith Center is opening the door so that locals (and visitors!) can take advantage of a rich menu of artistic and cultural performance pieces.

Grand piano Smith Center Las VegasThe building for the Smith Center is stunning in and of itself, and I love that there’s now an architectural structure in the city that won’t be imploded in twenty years. There are several pieces of artwork that have been commissioned by local artists, and the building itself sits in the heart of a new urban park called Symphony Park.

In addition to offering an ongoing selection of awesome shows (which I’ll get to in a minute), The Smith Center will be the new permanent performance home for both the Nevada Ballet Theatre and Las Vegas Philharmonic. For the first time, the two resident arts companies in the Las Vegas Valley will be able to perform together. I get shivers just thinking about how awesome that is.

So what kinds of performances will be showing at the Smith Center? This is the best part: The Smith Center will be offering an eclectic array of musical, dance, spoken word, theatre and other creative performances including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Color Purple, Yo-Yo Ma, MOMIX and so much more. We’ve already snapped up tickets to see David Sedaris, PSY and the Nevada Ballet’s 40th Anniversary Gala. Next year, Wicked rolls into town, and everyone is already talking about it.

I love Las Vegas for lots of reasons, but I’m especially proud to be part of a community that is investing in artistic and cultural pursuits when they’re being thrown on the chopping in other cities. I have no doubt that the Smith Center will become a true source of community pride in the Las Vegas Valley.

Located at 361 Symphony Park Avenue | Smith Center website

8 Responses to “I Love Las Vegas: Smith Center”

  1. John

    I love that more and more, Las Vegas seems to be developing other draws aside from the gambling/partying scene of the strip.

    • JoAnna

      I think a lot of locals know that there’s more than gambling and partying on the Strip, but we have been lacking an arts center, so this is a huge step to meeting that need.

  2. Jill

    So jealous! Saw an article about this in USA TODAY, and now seeing the pics you’ve posted…the place looks fabulous! (When is Alvin Ailey Dance Theater coming?)

    • JoAnna

      It is fabulous! It’s a gorgeous building both inside and out, and we’re lucky to have it. Alvin Ailey will be passing through this week!

  3. Gray

    I’m so excited for you and Las Vegas! It kind of blows my mind that we here in little ol’ Burlington VT have been enjoying the kinds of spectacular touring shows as you describe (seeing the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in my hometown is definitely a thrill!) for many years now. I’m so glad Las Vegans will finally have access to this sort of thing, too.

    • JoAnna

      My family used to go to the theater to see performances all the time. I saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater when I was a kid! But I am so, so glad that we finally have access to the arts in Las Vegas.

  4. Duncan @ Travelistic

    I think someone recently mentioned to me that Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA ?

    If that’s right, then its only a matter of time before people are crying out for this type of culture..

    A good thing im sure!


    • JoAnna

      It was one of the fastest growing cities for a number of years but has started to slow in recent years. We were still definitely in need of something like this, though, so I know for sure that the locals are excited.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *