“Just so you know, the rooms you’re about to see aren’t typically open to the public,” noted Patrick Vinson, group sales manager of The Smith Center, to the more than 20 Latin young professionals gathered in the center’s Grand Lobby.
The crowd murmured and snapped photos as they proceeded up the stairs, eager for the next stop after stepping on stage in Reynolds Hall and visiting the backstage dressing rooms.
“It’s such a beautiful building,” one individual murmured.
Experiencing behind-the-scenes excitement was the focus during this special Smith Center tour, organized for the Las Vegas Latin Young Professionals.
The tour gave rising leaders of the Latin community a rare view of backstage, the orchestra pit and more as they heard secrets of the building and its history.
“The tour rekindled my love for the theater,” said group member Vidal Gonzales. “Getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of The Smith Center sparked my curiosity and provided me the onus to want to see more shows and events at The Smith Center.”
This outreach tour serves as just one example of The Smith Center’s many ongoing efforts since opening to connect with community members of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.
Whether through outreach events, educational experiences or presenting shows that feature international cultures, The Smith Center places priority on improving access to the arts for all.
Diverse Shows for Diverse Audiences
As a nonprofit, The Smith Center recognizes that with Southern Nevada’s vibrant and diverse community, many are eager to celebrate international cultures.
This is why The Smith Center presents performances throughout the year showcasing artists and cultures from around the globe.
Just a few of these have included the Israeli Philharmonic, acclaimed martial arts show Shaolin Warriors, Irish singing group Celtic Woman, Japanese taiko drumming group Kodo, and the authentic Bollywood revue “Taj Express” featuring experienced Bollywood dancers from India.
“These are artists who have performed all over the world,” says Glenn Medas, president of sales and programming at The Smith Center.
For Children, Too
The Smith Center ensures local children experience a variety of cultures, too.
The center presents educational student matinees in its theaters throughout the year at no cost to schools – and many of these shows hail from abroad or showcase unique cultures.
Recent student matinees include: “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” featuring authentic African drumming and choreography, “All the Way Live!” highlighting hip-hop culture, as well as “Lights! Camera! Math!” starring performers from Northern Ireland.
Shows with international casts help introduce students to different countries in a fun way, said Rhonda Breit, a teacher from Sunrise Acres Elementary School, after attending “Lights! Camera! Math!”
“These kids have probably never even heard that accent before,” she said of the Northern Ireland performers.
The Smith Center further engages with community members at internationally focused events throughout Southern Nevada.
Smith Center spokespeople have conducted outreach at events such as the Asian Heritage Festival, the Pure Aloha Festival, the Chinese New Year in the Desert, and the Black History Month Festival.
It also extends outreach to many age groups at events such as senior health expos and student events at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The Smith Center even recently created a new Student Ambassadors program, helping local high school students explore different aspects of the arts as potential career paths.
This program held great appeal for 18-year-old Dylan Rusley.
“I think it’s important for people to be involved in and aware of the arts,” Rusley said after joining. “It’s something everyone can appreciate and relate to in their everyday lives.”
The Smith Center encourages all Southern Nevada residents to explore different ways to share experiences with us, such as participating in events, attending shows, and providing crucial support as Members.
For more information, explore our website: www.TheSmithCenter.com.
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