Friday, April 27, 2007 | 7:20 a.m.
About six years ago San Francisco Bay Area artist Sofie Siegmann came to town to create a mosaic couch. The commissioned project, a piece of functional art created for the Lied Discovery Children's Museum, was completed with the help of a couple of local unions and volunteer youth groups.
Like most sofas after their years of use, it found itself stashed behind the property, battered by the elements and headed for the trash.
Bothered by its demise, local artist Suzanne Hackett-Morgan last weekend scooped up the bulky couch and trucked it more than two hours to Goldwell Open Air Museum, where it join ed Charles Albert Szukalski's ghostly sculptures and work by other Belgians near the ghost town of Rhyolite.
It was a daring rescue given that its new home in a sculpture garden that overlooks miles of open desert is considered sacred ground by some.
Hackett-Morgan, who heads the nonprofit Goldwell museum with husband , Charles Morgan , and a small board, dismissed concerns about community folk art sitting on hallowed ground.
"I thought it'd be a shame to see it in a Dumpster," she says, adding it's a natural fit with Szukalski's vision and the "desert ethic about using what is available to you."
Siegmann's weathered sofa is the first art added to the collection since the mid-1990s.
This weekend a group of women artists from Las Vegas will head there to do repairs to Siegmann's sofa. It's the second such trip since the work party went out in 2005 to repaint Hugo Heyrman's pink cinder-block statue "Lady Desert: The Venus of Nevada."
An environmental cleanup at the barn on site, which will be used for an artist-in-residency program, is scheduled for next month.
High praise for philharmonic
The Las Vegas Philharmonic got an impressive plug this week from the online arts and culture digest artsjournal.com.
Blogger Drew McManus listed the young Las Vegas symphony as the No. 1 orchestra to watch.
"Several symphonic orchestra organizations are in just the right place at the right time to accomplish truly great things," wrote McManus, a musician and expert in the nonprofit performing arts world. He selected seven orchestras with tremendous potential, including those in Dallas, Honolulu, New Mexico, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Nashville, Tenn.
But the Las Vegas Philharmonic was the orchestra with "the greatest amount of potential over the next seven years," McManus said, because of the building of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a new music director, an increasing budget and "an ideal target population that multiplies like rabbits on Viagra."
"The organization is in a unique position within American symphonic orchestral history by being one of the only ensembles with all the necessary elements in place to successfully parallel the growth of their respective metropolitan population instead of tailing behind it by several decades," he said.