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July 29, 2014

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For Life Is Beautiful, Patrick Duffy has a great Western forum

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Mona Shield Payne

Patrick Duffy delicately holds an untitled Phillip Argent painting in preparation for relocation from the warehouse in the previously closed Las Vegas Art Museum Friday, Feb. 17, 2012.

Murals for Life Is Beautiful

A mural for the 'Life is Beautiful' festival in mid progress in downtown Las Vegas as seen on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Launch slideshow »

LIfe Is Beautiful Street Art Program

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Pick a “C,” any “C.”

Create. Curate. Concoct.

Patrick Duffy navigates those C’s.

One of the busiest art collectors anywhere is hopscotching around Europe right now, having attended the Art Basel event in Switzerland last month and spending time in Spain at the moment. But that has not stopped him from igniting the art program for the upcoming Life Is Beautiful festival set for Oct. 24-26 in downtown Las Vegas.

The man who headed up the LIB art installation a year ago at the inaugural event is presented a new (and somewhat unlikely) exhibit space: The Western hotel-casino on Fremont Street, which opened 35 years ago under the ownership of Jackie Gaughan and Mel Exber. Known in those days for the largest bingo parlor on the planet, the Western will now open up “a really cool space,” as Duffy promises, to some great artists.

Duffy has contacted artists and gallerists featured at the 2013 LIB festival exhibit at Town Lodge, titled “The Odyssey,” and asked for submissions to be included in October’s show. The top 15 to 20 artists will be invited to what Duffy is calling the “art happening” at the festival.

The final lineup will be assembled swiftly. The submission deadline is Sunday. The announcement of those who will participate is expected a week later. Duffy’s hope is to match the “incredible success” of “The Odyssey,” while homing in on the best Las Vegas artists first. As Duffy has said to the artists, “My feeling is always local first and to have our local art talent carry a global art message.”

With 60,000 festival patrons expected, the artists are already reaching an audience the size of a city, which is another “C” for Duffy to explore.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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