The public is invited to join in the “Gnomenclature” of gnomes with two whimsical sculptures set to be installed May 3 at Boulder Plaza, located between Main and First streets at Boulder Avenue, a block north of Charleston Boulevard in the Arts District.
Created by Las Vegas artist Jesse Carson Smigel as a play on the concept of a “Sculpture Garden,” a pair of giant, colorful garden gnomes will animate the space and invite the public to interact, photograph and/or “post” themselves with the Gnomes in their urban garden. Visitors to the Boulder Plaza Sculpture Garden will be able to send pictures to "Our Las Vegas," a soon-to-launch Las Vegas Arts Commission online public art project that can be found online at http://ourlasvegas.wordpress.com/.
The artist will be on site during the Preview Thursday and First Friday events from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, and on Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. The sculpture hours after Friday are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Titled by the artist, “Gnot the Proper Gnomenclature,” the artwork features one reclining lawn gnome, 8 to 9 feet across, which rises about 5 feet tall at its peak. A second gnome stands 9 feet tall. After carving them from a dense foam material, the artwork is hard-coated, painted and sealed. While the sculptures are durable, they are only temporary and stepping and climbing on the art is discouraged. Smigel credits mentor Keith Conley, a sculpture professor at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN), for the inspiration with whom he collaborated on a large standing gnome years ago.
Boulder Plaza ties in with the city’s streetscape improvements along First Street, which recently received a Mayor’s Urban Design Award. The two jolly “Gnome-ads” will blaze the trail for future projects on the plaza and on First Street, which will become an “Art Trail” that will run between Fremont Street and the Arts District.
Funding for the project came from the city of Las Vegas Arts Commission. The members are appointed by the Las Vegas City Council.
About the artist: Las Vegas native Jesse Carson Smigel is a theatrical set designer and carpenter, sculptor, and co-owner of Blackbird Studios, who studied art at both CSN and UNLV. His work has been seen in the stage sets of numerous local productions. Specializing in foam carving, some might be familiar with the atomic Mushroom Cloud he sculpted for the recent exhibit “Building Atomic Vegas” at the National Atomic Testing Museum.