Title: Public Art, Public Space, Collective Healing: Analysis of the Las Vegas Welcome Sign and Community Healing Garden After October 1
Stream: Arts - Arts Policy, Management and Advocacy
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Lisa Levine, University of Nevada Las Vegas, United States
After experiencing a global pandemic that traumatized society it is important to understand how public art and space can be used for collective healing. Applying a mixed methods approach, this study analyzes data collected from qualitative interviews and social media communications to understand how the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign and the Community Healing Garden became collective healing spaces after the October 1 shooting. Las Vegas became ground zero following the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. The Welcome Sign transformed from one of the most iconic brands to a memorial site. This public space filled with items in remembrance of the dead and 58 crosses were installed to honor the deceased. When there was no longer room at the Sign, the City built the Community Healing Garden. In November, the government relocated memorabilia from the Sign to a Museum. This marked a transitional period for Las Vegas that, while it was still healing, it was open for business. The Sign returned to its function as a travel brand despite being closely associated with the shooting. The removal of items from the Sign directed the community’s primary collective healing space to the Garden, which to this day serves as a space for people to heal. Research Question: Why did the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign and the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden serve as the mourning sites for victims and their families, the community, and the world after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history?
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