One of the many things I loved about our room at the El Cortez Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas was the incredible view outside the window of the area known as Fremont Street East.
The first thing I saw when I opened the curtains was the incredibly vibrant mural “The Horned Lizard” by Belgian artist ROA, which shows a horned lizard, also commonly called a horned toad, colorfully squirting a stream of blood out of its eye! This was just the first of many murals that caught our attention. Neek and I couldn’t wait to head downstairs, go outside, and check everything out.
Artwork by Bicicleta Sem Feio
The origin for the prevalence of murals in this section of Las Vegas starts with the Las Vegas Centennial in 2005 when the Centennial Commission’s plan for “The City of 100 Murals” turned out contracts for over 180. These murals were hosted by public and private businesses, including a few on Fremont Street. But the explosion of murals in the Fremont Street East area from the Life is Beautiful Festival that has occurred every year since 2013 with an art program curated by art collective JustKids has really transformed this downtown corridor. The project, called Rise Above, is inspired by Miami’s Wynwood District, but is different in that the art works are on a more long-term or permanent display.
The Cycle of Civilization by Zio Ziegler
Fremont East is one awesome open-air art gallery! We had so much fun walking from building to building, filming and photographing so many stunning murals. Great works of art can’t help but provoke feeling from an engaged viewer, and I certainly felt excited and playful surrounded by them. My personal favorite was “Sin Titulo” by Puerto Rican artist Alexis Dias. This mural of a hybrid snail-skull provoked feelings of dread toward mortality in me, but with a winking acknowledgement of its absurdity. That’s me walking by it in the video with hangdog mopiness.
Apexer from the Life is Beautiful Festival in 2015
We followed the murals all the way out toward the Emergency Arts building which featured “Chrome Fish” by Bikismo. There were a number of buildings nearby with cool neon signs like The Griffin bar. We left briefly to stuff ourselves with sushi at Makino’s, then came back to notice the signs looked even cooler lit up at night! Vegas is such a fun place, so many sights that are so memorable, with new ones cropping up every year.
Checking into the El Cortez Hotel in Las Vegas was great! I was beat and ready to collapse in bed, when Lex looked out the window and said, “Hey, there’s a mural of a big lizard with blood spewing out of its eyes!” What girl could resist that kind of statement? I jumped up looked out also and realized that my collapsing would have to wait.
Everafter by Lakwena
Oh man! What a feast of murals and artwork! I had no idea that Las Vegas’ Fremont Street East had become such an outdoor art gallery. Lex and I explored what we could (there was more, but that will have to wait for another visit) and wished there was more time.
At night, the experience of seeing the colorful neon lights from old Las Vegas was amazing! Hopefully you can all catch a taste of our fun experience in our video.