““Much of Las Vegas is designed as an escape from somewhere else. The Smith Center is conceived to embody the soul of Las Vegas - not the fantasy-scape that people visit - but the place where people live and work. The opening night celebrations, and the resurgence in the surrounding business and cultural activities that have followed, speak to the power of architecture to focus, revitalize, and enrich our communities in immeasurable ways,” said Gregory Hoss, principal of DMSAS.
Hailed as a “historic night in Las Vegas” by The Smith Center president and CEO Myron Martin, the television event “Dust to Dreams” captures the excitement surrounding the opening of what was conceived to become a community and cultural heart for those who call Nevada home. With an average performance attendance of about 2,000 since that night, The Smith Center also is fulfilling one of its ambitions as an economic driver for its vicinity, infusing downtown businesses with a steady increase in the numbers of shop and restaurant patrons.
“I believe it is nothing short of stunning to see how the complex has so immediately fit into Las Vegas giving many tens of thousands of people the sense that it's simply always been here. "Are you going to see...." and "Did you see...." and We're going to the Smith Center for....." have all become regular parts of conversation at schools, work and throughout the community,” said Alan Feldman, Senior Vice President, MGM Mirage and member of the Board of Directors of The Smith Center.
The PBS special celebrating the Smith Center opening airs on Friday, September 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Produced by George Stevens Jr. and directed and produced by Michael Stevens, who collectively have won 19 Emmy Awards, “Dust to Dreams” will be hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris and includes additional performances by country superstars Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and Martina McBride, classical violinist Joshua Bell, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Fogerty, Gospel great Mavis Staples, Train lead singer Pat Monahan, and American Ballet Theater dancers Marcello Gomes and Luciana Paris.
The $470 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts opened in March to fulfill the greater Southwestregion’s longstanding dream of engaging and uniting the entire community, enabling local organizations to grow artistically and institutionally, and serving as an incubator for new artistic endeavor and excellence. Inspired in part by the iconic design of the Hoover Dam, the world-class, state-of-the-art, acoustically superior performing arts center is part of a DMSAS portfolio of acclaimed cultural and civic cornerstones that includes Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville and the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Tex.
“The Smith Center is extra special and significant because it is a building for the people of Las Vegas. Much of the population is engaged in building and operating world class buildings for tourists. This is the first that is just for us! There is a sense of wonder and excitement as people have the chance to see and be seen at the incredible offerings of the Center. It is a unifying presence,” said Kim Sinatra, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Wynn Resorts, who serves on The Smith Center Board. .
Based in Washington, D.C., DMSAS is best known for award-winning projects that become beloved civic and cultural attractions. Contextually appropriate and technically innovative, the DMSAS collection of civic masterpieces includes Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville; American Airlines Center in Dallas; Texas Rangers Stadium in Arlington, TX, the Yale Class of ‘ 54 Environmental Science Center and the Orioles’ Spring Training Facility at Ed Smith Stadium.
About the Smith Center for the Performing Arts
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a public/private partnership that is becoming the centerpiece of cultural life in Las Vegas, offering a blend of performances by resident companies, as well as first-run touring attractions. The Smith Center is the cultural center for Las Vegas – a place that educates, entertains and excites the citizens of our great community. Located in downtown’s 61-acre urban development, Symphony Park, The Smith Center broke ground in May of 2009 and opened to the public March 2012.