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April 19, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Arts Commission considers bringing ‘Paintbrushes’ together

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Steve Marcus

A view of one of the two Dennis Oppenheim paintbrushes on Charleston Boulevard in the Arts District Sunday, June 5, 2011.

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An artist rendering prior to construction of Dennis Oppenheim's "Paintbrushes" sculpture.

Las Vegas Arts Commission members are considering moving one of two massive metallic paintbrushes situated downtown to create a more visible gateway to area’s Arts District.

The Arts Commission, established to support and encourage art throughout the city, initiated discussion Thursday about the potential cost and placement of one of two 45-foot tall, metal paintbrushes on Charleston Boulevard.

“Paintbrushes” is considered the last public work of renowned New York sculptor Dennis Oppenheim, who died in 2011 before completing the project. Originally, four paintbrushes were to be constructed. Overruns, however, led to just two of them created at a total cost of $700,000.

Had there been four paintbrushes, they would have been situated across from each other on Charleston, forming one gateway at Casino Center Boulevard and another at Fourth Street. Since there were only two, one was placed on one side of the street at Casino Center and the other side of the street three blocks east at Fourth Street.

Commissioner Brian “Paco” Alvarez said the distance renders “Paintbrushes” virtually invisible.

“During the day, they disappear,” he said. “At night, they’re beautiful (but) unfortunately, they are lost when so far apart.”

Cost of moving one of the brushes could approach $140,000, it was noted.

The commission decided to have the city’s Public Works Department look more closely at where one of them might be moved and the cost.

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