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Take a Self-Guided Tour of CityCenter’s Fine Art

Editor’s Note: Think you know all there is to know about Las Vegas? Read our Vegas series this week as we celebrate a city that continues to reinvent itself year after year.

After four full days in Las Vegas and an entire day to go, I needed sunlight, fresh air and some down time. (Yes, there is a such thing as down time in Vegas!) Some may choose to hike at Red Rocks, shop ’til they drop or indulge in a spa day, but I found intrigue in CityCenter’s $40 million fine art collection. Unlike your typical art museum, these masterpieces are scattered about the massive CityCenter complex — inside and out; just grab a guide from a concierge’s desk, and start your own tour.

Here are just a few of the pieces that left an impression on me, but the entire collection includes works of 15 internationally renowned artists and is Las Vegas’s first major collection of contemporary art. It’s certainly worth your perusal, and it’s sure to be a side of Vegas that you weren’t ever expecting.

Feature photo of Frank Stella’s Damascus Gate Variation I located in the Vdara lobby.

Silver River by Maya Lin – Aria

The collection features a number of impressive sculptures, paintings and media displays, but my absolute favorite piece that I came across on my self-guided art walk was an 84-foot silver cast of the Colorado River created by artist Maya Lin – located just above the reception desk at Aria. Beautiful indeed, but what I like most about this piece is that the artist used reclaimed silver as a tribute to Aria’s commitment to sustainability.

Maya Lin, Silver River, CityCenter Fine Art

Silver River located at Aria’s front desk

ARAIA by Jenny Holzer – Aria

Another piece that I was absolutely fascinated by was a media display by artist Jenny Holzer, who is known for her insightful and often political LED signs. Looking at this massive LED display, I was confused yet intrigued at the same time. As I stood there trying to read the random, scrolling phrases on the sign (just one of many read: Overeating should be criminal.), the valet guy says to me: “Don’t even waste your time; you’ll never figure it out.” He was right.

Araia, Jenny Holzer, CityCenter Art

ARAIA located at Aria’s driveway

Big Edge by Nancy Rubin -  Harmon Circle

When I came across Nancy Rubin’s Big Edge, I stared at it for several seconds before saying to myself: “Oh! They’re canoes!” I waffle between loving and hating this piece; the colors immediately attract the eye yet it lacks symmetry and seems almost unfinished. But, who am I to critique art; I’m just a travel blogger who loathes the Mona Lisa, which, by the way, is really a man.

Nancy Rubins, Big Edge, CityCenter Art

Big Edge located at Harmon Circle in front of Vdara

Tip: If you want to see every piece, allow a full day. Trust me; you’ll find distractions along the way!


Las Vegas Vacation Deals (Travelocity)

International Street Art (The Window Seat)

Egyptian Museum Missing Items (Aol Travel)


My name: Jennifer Gaines, but my friends call me Gaines, Jenni-Dallas or just plain Jenn.

(Find me on Twitter @jenngaines)

Travel ambitions: It's my mission to visit each of the New 7 Wonders and to step foot on every continent before my next milestone birthday.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Find the local hangouts to experience the real, true culture of a place. During a trip to Europe, my friends and I spent several days with a French family in the small town of Vichy. We had a private party in their family-run creperie, feasting on cheese-stuffed crepes and sampling wine that we picked up in the Bordeaux region a few days earlier. Their English wasn’t much better than my French, which is limited to a few well-known phrases from Moulin Rouge and the question: Parlez-vous anglais? (I'm proud to say that I can spout this question off in several different languages, and luckily most Europeans do indeed speak English!) After a few bottles of wine, the language barrier was hardly noticeable (slurring actually sounds the same in French!), and we managed to swap stories about life in other places. What a slice of local flavor!

My most beloved place in the whole world is: My grandparents place in Texas. It’s a 10-acre oasis in between two sprawling cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A creek runs through their enormous backyard, where Granddad built a deck over the water. The entire place is shrouded with all types of trees (mainly pecan), blocking the Texas sun in the summer. Dusk is the best time to sit on the deck, drink a glass of ice tea and watch baby raccoons from the spring litter surround their back porch as Gram feeds them bread (no lie!). There will be dozens of raccoons eating on any given night. In the fall, my family gathers in the courtyard in front of their house for an annual “weenie roast.” Granddad lights the bonfire, and we roast dogs and s'mores. Yes, y’all, we’re from Texas!

Favorite way to get around: Well, I’m not much of a driver. I get lost easily and my tires have never come across a curb they didn’t want to get to know a little better. But, I do enjoy cruising around and listening to music. That said, I much rather explore a place by foot (with my iPod in tow) for a more intimate encounter.

View that took my breath away: Coming from Texas (where the view is wide but there’s not much to see), scenes from my new home of San Francisco never fail to amaze me. The city is a pedestrian’s dream, but don’t forget to turn around and look behind you as you meander through its neighborhoods. You won’t realize it, but you’ll be at the tip-top of a hill and the ocean will suddenly seem to be at eye level. Take a drive through the Presidio and over the Golden Gate Bridge where even more stunning views await!

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