Resorts World emerges from crisis with Vegas artists


Painted in a corner, Resorts World Las Vegas did the right thing on Saturday and said Las Vegas artists would be paid for the art on display at the multibillion-dollar complex.

In doing so, the company effectively avoided a demonstration of Vegas artists and supporters that had been slated for Saturday night near its entrance to the Strip. Instead, plans have shifted to a celebration of art and artists at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the ReBar in the downtown arts district.

The Story Behind: Resorts World on Wednesday unveiled a program in which local artists would be invited to create murals for the hotel’s back hallways. The vision was for these workers to experience Las Vegas art, which would be donated by Vegas artists.

But the very artists who would create these murals responded with a tidal wave of criticism on social media after the program was announced.

President of the world of seaside resorts Scott sibella responded to the backlash in an email Saturday, “We never meant to offend anyone. We respect and are proud of our artistic community. Resorts World will be offering an impressive arts program throughout the property for the enjoyment of our guests. This program was intended for the back of the house, where only team members are allowed. We wanted to create a unique opportunity for anyone with a passion for the art to present their work with our team members.

The initial concern of artists and arts supporters was that the dozen Las Vegans selected to contribute to this collection were invited to donate their time and talent. The artists were offered space, supplies and equipment for their efforts. But several have firmly defended their craft, taking part in a $ 4.3 billion complex asking artists to work for free, especially during a pandemic.

“Employees who experiment with this art at the hotel get paid, why should artists be any different? ” Cook AD, a Las Vegas gallery artist for 14 years, said Saturday. “It takes a lifetime to produce original art. Yes, employees should have murals, but the people who create them should be paid, just like everyone else. “

Vegas graffiti artist and digital illustrator Duran gear originally said: “There is a sucker born every minute.” I am not one of them. But he was grateful for the company’s updated post, posting on Facebook: “It really is something to celebrate within this artistic community !!”

Robin slonina of Skin City Body Painting had called the company on Twitter on Friday, asking, “Why do so many people think it’s okay to ask us to work for free?” She added that it took her 20 years to pay off her student loans after studying at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. “Would you ask a dentist to treat your teeth for fun or for ‘exposure’? “

Resorts World responded on its official Twitter page that it is “re-evaluating the program” to ensure artists are paid and that the company’s original goal of recognizing Las Vegas art is met (and those who are. interested in the updated program can submit portfolios to art @ Slonina closed the exchange with a message in the lead with “Bravo!” and thanking Resorts World for their “response and course correction”.

native of las vegas Brian “Paco” Allvarez, arts advocate, historian and community leader, helped organize what was originally supposed to be a protest at the resort. As the arts community agreed that Resorts World was actually dealing with artists, those plans shifted to the Arts District.

Alvarez, who has pledged to host the new Museum Fiasco at Area15, said the episode reflects a more widespread concern among artists of all kinds. Those who belong to the artistic culture are tired of being taken for granted and of being underpaid for their work.

“We see this happening with circus acrobats who are unemployed, artists, musicians, all artists who are not working and who are struggling to get unemployment,” Alvarez said. “You hear it all the time, the exhibition doesn’t pay the bills, it doesn’t pay the rent, it doesn’t fill my stomach with food. It’s a very frustrating thing to deal with in my hometown. “

Later, after hearing that the resort was indeed planning to take care of contributing artists, Alvarez said, “This is good news” and was ready to celebrate his community downtown.

John Katsilometes column is published daily in section A. His “PodKats! the podcast can be found at Contact him at To follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @ JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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