I love February. I feel like there’s always so much to do in Vegas this month, and this year is no exception. There’s love in the air, and whether you’re looking for date night ideas for a lover, friends or a place to go solo, these recommendations should fit the bill.
My first must-do this month is the photography exhibit, “Obsidian & Neon: Celebrating Black Life and Identity in Las Vegas” at the Nevada State Museum inside the Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd.
From the press release, “Obsidian & Neon: Celebrating Black Life and Identity in Las Vegas” is a photo-narrative exhibition of large-scale black-and-white photography by award-winning photojournalist Jeff Scheid, accompanied by narrative profiles curated by writer Erica Vital-Lazare. I’m excited to see this collection because Jeff is an enormously talented photographer who I’ve been friends with for more than a decade, and his work is stunning. Erica and I worked at the View Newspapers together 100 years ago, and she too, is a unique voice in the city, and I’m excited to see her work on this project.
This photo and narrative collection also gives visitors and locals a chance to celebrate Black History Month locally and learn about community members, including Judge Karen Bennett-Haron, welfare rights activist and Director of Operation Life Ruby Duncan; performer China Hudson; Managing Principal Energy Works LLC Rose McKinney-James; Comedienne A.K. McMorris; and former Nevada State Senator Joe Neal.
The cool thing about this exhibit is that there’s a second show of sorts on display at Terminal 1 inside McCarran International Airport, which is free to view, in case you’re based on the south side of Las Vegas or funds are tied up elsewhere. Pair the exhibit with the McCarran Airport plane landing viewing area, and you have a nice, free evening out. And who doesn’t like free?
Throughout Black History Month, the Nevada State Museum also is hosting an Obsidian & Neon Speaker Series at 2 p.m. on the below dates with discussions led by principal subjects of the “Obsidian & Neon” exhibit. Panels will explore issues and movements within the black community, including:
- Feb 15: “Black Art: Mission or Expression,” moderated by former Clark County Poet Laureate Vogue Robinson.
- Feb 29: “Black Economic Presence & Mobility in Sin City,” moderated by CEO of Sumnu Marketing Shaundell Newsome.
The Nevada State Museum is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday and admission costs $9.95 for Nevada residents.
Is it time for Banksy yet?
My second recommendation is something I’ve had on my personal to-see list since it was announced in 2019, and this is the month I’m going. I love Banksy, and I can’t believe I still haven’t seen the exhibit at Immersion Vegas. Anyway, if you’re looking for a unique adventure in Las Vegas this month, go see “Banksy: Genius or Vandal?” inside Immersion Vegas at the Fashion Show Mall, 3200 South Las Vegas Blvd.
The exhibit is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sundays on the mall’s first floor, near Forever 21. There’s an Auntie Anne’s pretzel store near there too, if you want a snack before or after, or you could be fancy and go to one of the many restaurants at the Fashion Show to round out your adventure. Supposedly there are more than 70 original Banksy works on display from private collections.
While this isn’t a piece popping up from nowhere on the side of a building or Dismaland, the collection still promises to be interesting, as many of us have never gotten a chance to see Banksy’s art up close and personal. It won’t have the overall feel that Banksy goes for in the all-encompassing presentation, and promises to be a little more sterilized, but I’m still excited for this one.
The Banksy exhibition is a limited engagement through April 5, and tickets cost $29 for adults.