Las Vegas Sun

March 28, 2017

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Neighborhood dream: A place to putt and ponder art

Video pitches marriage of Las Vegas Art Museum, golf course

When two people living along the potentially endangered Las Vegas National Golf Course learned that the Las Vegas Art Museum was seeking a permanent home, they came up with an idea: Build the museum and a sculpture park on the golf course.

Their theory is that it could eliminate the threat of several hundred new homes replacing the links on the storied course at Desert Inn Road and Eastern Avenue.

But their neighbors weren’t quite getting the concept, so David Caldwell and Mike Wille made a little Internet video to float the idea.

Not just any video, however.

Set to a choral rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday,” the 3 1/2 minute choreographed slide show is a little precious, a little over the top and, much like Sondheim’s song, a little dreamy.

Call it a love letter to the art museum. Caldwell and Wille spent 12 hours crafting the video that weaves together images by Georges-Pierre Seurat and Roy Lichtenstein with stills of the golf course and newspaper quotes from Libby Lumpkin, the museum’s executive director. It includes a video collage of noted public art landing on a still image of the golf course.

On Monday night they e-mailed it to their neighbors and other locals interested in preserving the integrity of the Midcentury Modern neighborhood. By Tuesday morning it was floating all over town.

“As an owner, I would love the idea of a sculpture park in a golf course,” says Mary Margaret Stratton, resident of Paradise Palms, near the course, and founder of the Atomic Age Alliance. “It would be like a miniature golf course for adults. The problem is, if you slice it, you’ll ding the Rodin.”

More seriously, Stratton says, “It’s my feeling that the entire neighborhood would be behind a project like that.”

Residents fear that the course, purchased last year by John Knott and partners, will be turned into a housing development or even include gaming. Several have signed a petition stating they want the 130-acre course to remain open to the public.

Caldwell, who has lived on the golf course for seven years and works as general manager for “Chippendales, The Show,” says he hasn’t contacted the museum. But he points to the blending of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor and the Lincoln Park Golf Club in San Francisco as a good example of what could happen here.

The Las Vegas Art Museum had planned to lease the All-American SportPark, but recently board members decided to pursue a permanent home for the museum.

It’s unlikely, however, that this will involve the Las Vegas National Golf Course. Lumpkin says the museum has been looking at several options and there is a chance the museum will move downtown.

Caldwell and Wille aren’t the only ones with an eye on drawing the museum, she says. “This is kind of what’s happened since we announced the change in plans. A lot of people have come forward to offer locations.

“It’s nice to feel wanted.”

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