Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2017

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Joe Downtown: Muralist completes touchup on shuttered Western hotel


Joe Schoenmann

A detail shot of the mural painted by Zio Ziegler, a San Francisco-based artist, on the back wall of the Western hotel.

Western mural

Zio Ziegler, a San Francisco-based muralist, created this mural on the back wall of the Western hotel. Launch slideshow »

For a building that will be near the center of a 15-block festival of life’s beauty, the Western Hotel, something of an eyesore even when it was operational, seems somewhat out of place.

Then again, maybe it’s in just the right place.

The Life Is Beautiful festival, after all, isn’t offering itself as a Madison Avenue’s view of beauty – leggy Barbies, fast red cards and Las Vegas Strip perfection – but it is incorporating some of downtown Las Vegas’ imperfect urban scenery as a backdrop to the creativity of music, food and art.

Zio Ziegler, a San Francisco-based muralist, created a mural on the back wall of the Western over 19 hours this past weekend that works to bridge the gap between the urban and the art.

“The work pays attention to scale of environment and … makes a striking visual experience,” said Ed Fuentes, a Las Vegas-based arts reporter and muralist. “It says street art can be fine art.”

Ziegler is the first, but five more muralists will be putting their works on vacant walls downtown during the festival, which runs Oct. 26 and 27, said Rehan Choudry, who is overseeing festival planning.

Ziegler’s work can be seen on the southwest wall of the Western, 899 E. Fremont St.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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