Life is beautiful

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travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

A few years ago, Downtown Las Vegas was so rundown and scary that people wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, never mind wander around down there.  But with the Downtown Project and other revitalization efforts, the area has been transformed into a quirky, happening destination for couples, kids, art lovers, and hip bar hoppers.

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

Jenn and I doing our best cranky model impersonations under the “Life is Beautiful” mural on the wall of the El Cortez hotel

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

The inaugural two-day “Life is Beautiful” festival took place in late October, drawing celebrity chefs and popular bands, the likes of which you’d normally only find at the mega casino-resorts of the Strip.  The event brought 40,000 tourists and locals to experience the new “neighborhoody” feel of Downtown.  Designed to reflect the festival’s inspirational message, giant murals were painted on a dozen walls, mostly abandoned motels and hotels, the Container Park and a few businesses like the El Cortez.  These shots represent just a few of the fantastic several-story-high works of art.

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

Even though the festival is long over, most the murals remain, which was the hope of festival organizers.  Their goal was to foster pride in the community, beginning with what we see as we walk by.  Although Mike and I no longer live in Vegas, I was delighted to see these enhancements.  I’ve always had great affection for Downtown.  I worked in the area for a number of years.  I met Mike at a Downtown bar, and I lots of great meetings at restaurants and coffee shops there.  These gorgeous, colorful murals made me want to move back all the more.

travel, photography, downtown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Downtown Container Park, El Cortez, old Vegas, friends, murals, paint, paintings, public art, Fremont Street

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