Resorts World Las Vegas Pledges to Pay Artists After First Seeking Volunteers

Posted on: October 25, 2020, 02:57h. 

Last updated on: October 25, 2020, 03:04h.

A casino company constructing a $4.3-billion resort on the Las Vegas Strip has agreed to pay artists for creating murals at the site. Resorts World Las Vegas at first wanted artists to volunteer their work.

Resorts World Las Vegas
Resorts World Las Vegas, seen here, is slated to open next summer. It is being constructed on the Las Vegas Strip where the Stardust hotel-casino once stood. (Image: Travel Weekly)

Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas, said the company did not intend to offend anyone with the program announced Wednesday.

“We respect and are proud of our arts community,” Sibella told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Sibella said the mural program is for “back of house” hallways where employees are allowed, but not guests.

“We wanted to create a unique opportunity for anyone that has passion for art to showcase their work with our team members,” he told the newspaper.

The company had earlier stated artists would receive free art materials for the project and an invitation to the resort’s grand opening. Resorts World Las Vegas also had planned to provide “professional photography and video content” that artists could use in their portfolios.

Local artists took aim on social media sites at the volunteer proposal. Some said the offer was especially upsetting knowing that people have been unable to find work during the coronavirus pandemic.

A Twitter user identified as Sarah Hester Ross, a Las Vegas musical comedian, tweeted: “STOP ASKING ARTISTS TO DO THINGS FOR FREE!! We’ve been out of work for 6 months and you are a multi-BILLION dollar industry!!!!”

The 12 artists selected now will be paid an amount that has not been specified. The resort also plans to pay artists to create work that guests will be able to see, according to KSNV-TV.

Summer 2021 Opening

Resorts World Las Vegas is about 75 percent complete and on schedule to open next summer, Sibella told KSNV-TV.

Malaysia-based Genting Group paid Boyd Gaming $350 million in 2013 for the Las Vegas site. The 68-story Resorts World Las Vegas will have 3,500 hotel rooms. The company is partnering with Hilton Hotels and Resorts on the project. Resorts World Las Vegas is the most expensive property on the Strip, topping the $4.18-billion Cosmopolitan.

Sibella told KSNV-TV the resort will open even if the pandemic is still a factor in the summer of 2021.

“We hope COVID is behind us,” he said. “If COVID isn’t behind us, we hope it is less restricted. But we’re opening next summer either way.”

Stardust Memories

Resorts World Las Vegas is being built at the site of the former Stardust hotel-casino on a northwest portion of the Las Vegas Strip, near Circus Circus.

The Stardust became familiar to a wide audience with the publication in 1995 of Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, a nonfiction book by New York-based crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi.

Pileggi’s book chronicles a love triangle involving Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, his wife, Geri, and mobster Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro. Rosenthal oversaw the Stardust and other resorts in Las Vegas for Midwestern crime families.

The book was the basis for director Martin Scorsese’s 1995 movie Casino, starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. Pileggi cowrote the script with Scorsese.

The characters’ real names and the name of the Stardust were used in the book, but not in the movie, for legal reasons.