The local artist’s winning concept includes a nod to Red Rock Canyon and Howard Hughes Jr.’s admiration for aviation
Over 20 artists responded to an open call asking for creative proposals to reimagine Downtown Summerlin’s parking garage. This project aims to improve the car park space with a visual art experience, to enliven a typically mundane structure. Among the applicants, Howard Hughes Corporation, the developer of Summerlin Community, selected Southern Nevada artist Bonnie Kelso to create the largest mural in Downtown Summerlin.
To grasp the magnitude of the art project, Kelso’s winning design will adorn the north and west exterior walls of the 1700 Pavillion, which is a 10-story office tower currently under construction. The mural will consist of panels constructed to accommodate the open spaces between the parking garage levels. On both sides, Kelso’s canvas spans over 120-feet long and over 54-feet wide.
Kelso’s concept for the mural reflects her experiences as a Summerlin resident, a place she’s called home since 2013. Her vision offers a unique perspective to a faraway passerby and celebrates elements of the Nevada landscape, which includes colors inspired by Red Rock Canyon and embodies Summerlin’s lively, outdoorsy spirit.
Danielle Bisterfeldt, Summerlin’s senior vice president of marketing and consumer experience, embraces the impact public art has on the Las Vegas community.
“As we develop Summerlin, we thoughtfully consider how design can shape the community—providing exceptional experiences both within the buildings and throughout the open public spaces,” says Bisterfeldt in a statement. “We are committed to the power of public art to help define a sense of place and identity, and this mural has provided an ideal opportunity to highlight our Southern Nevada talent and select an artist whose design reflects her strong passion for our community.”
Bonnie Kelso, originally from Rhode Island, moved to Las Vegas to be closer to her retired parents. She brings with her an abundance of experience traveling the world, designing exhibitions, and an impressive list of institutions where she contributed to projects.
Her resume includes NASA, National Geographic, the Newseum and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. As a teaching artist for the Nevada Council of Arts, she mentors Las Vegas students of all ages while empowering both teens and adults in addiction recovery. Plus, she’s a children’s book author and illustrator. She does it all.
The artsy Summerlin dweller explains how she found inspiration for this winning concept. “My design was inspired by what I love most about living in Summerlin—from listening to music in the park and dining outdoors, to exercising along the many trails and playing with my children in parks filled with beautiful native plants and wildlife,” says Kelso in a statement. “My design also includes a nod to our local Air Force and Howard Hughes Jr.’s passion for aviation. I hope these elements combined with the majestic ridgelines of nearby Red Rock Canyon convey Summerlin’s strong sense of community and appreciation for nature.”
The parking garage transformation is slated for the first week of August. Wall Print Las Vegas will install her artwork. After completion, Kelso’s design will be available for viewing at 1700 Pavilion. If you are interested in seeing her previous work, take a glimpse at Bonnie Kelso’s portfolio.