Arts community demanding spotlight in Las Vegas

CRISTINA SILVA Associated Pressght in Las Vegas Published:

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A new $470 million arts complex wants to reintroduce Las Vegas as a cultural destination.

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts slated to open on March 10 is a gleaming art deco-inspired jewel in a downtown redevelopment zone miles from the Las Vegas Strip.

The five-acre campus will host touring Broadway shows, jazz artists and classical singers, as well as the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre. Its inaugural season will feature cellist Yo-Yo Ma, author David Sedaris and Broadway hits "Wicked" and "The Color Purple."

Business leaders, elected officials and local artists are counting on the Smith Center to bring new life to the city's struggling economy and arts scene.

Nevada's brutal housing crash and hospitality-dependent workforce are behind the nation's highest unemployment and foreclosure rates.