New Art Museum in the Cards for Las Vegas

Posted on: January 12, 2024, 01:42h. 

Last updated on: January 16, 2024, 12:38h.

Las Vegas no longer wants to be the largest U.S. city without a standalone art museum. So the city is inching forward with plans to open the Las Vegas Museum of Art. The museum will be located in a new building at Symphony Park, a five-acre arts hub in downtown Las Vegas that also houses the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Las Vegas Museum of Art building in Symphony Park
A rendering shows the proposed location for a new Las Vegas Museum of Art building in Symphony Park. (Image: City of Las Vegas)

Construction on the $150M building, featuring 60K to 90K square feet over three floors, isn’t expected to begin until 2026, so its earliest projected opening is 2028.

The project is being financed primarily by Elaine Wynn, board chair and CEO of Wynn Resorts, and the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA). Wynn, a trustee for the Las Vegas Museum of Art, also sits on the board of LACMA, which has promised to loan Wynn pieces to display from its extensive and expensive collection.

The new museum has also received $5M in seed funding from the Nevada state legislature.’s own Vital Vegas blogger Scott Roeben broke some details of this story in November, weeks before the Las Vegas City Council even voted to approve a 1.5-acre plot for the museum.

The most recent site of the first art museum in Las Vegas, which shared this building with a library branch before being forced to close in 2009. (Image:

Lost Art

Las Vegas had an art museum before. Kind of.

And no, we’re not referring to the gallery at Wynn Las Vegas or the ones that sell their art on the Strip and downtown.

There was once an actual place called the Las Vegas Art Museum. It opened in 1974 out of the ashes of the Las Vegas Art League, in a ranch house at Lorenzi Park that was owned by the city of Las Vegas.

In the 1990s, the city converted the museum into a senior center and moved its collection into a new building it would share with one of its libraries until 2009. That’s when the Las Vegas Art Museum finally closed, citing a recession-prompted lack of donations.

In 2012, the Las Vegas Art Museum’s collection — consisting of 200 pieces of mostly contemporary art — was moved to the newly renovated Barrick Museum at UNLV. Its former space now functions as an art gallery for the Sahara West branch of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library.

In 2017, the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno announced plans to open a Las Vegas branch. But that $250M project was canceled in 2020 due to lack of funding.