An idea from Resorts World Las Vegas aimed at brightening the lives of beleaguered casino employees has blown up into a PR nightmare for the billion dollar enterprise. It’s a story that involves some good intentions, local artists, and a serious misunderstanding of how people in the arts actually live.

The good intentions side of the story comes in the form of a request from Resorts World for local artists to create works in interior hallways of their building. Their thinking was that casino workers were missing out on the explosion of public art that’s gone up in Las Vegas since most of them don’t even live in Las Vegas. Sounds like a good idea so far, right?

In a normal situation, local artists would have been tripping all over each other for the opportunity to pick up a commission from a deep-pocketed casino owner. The only problem here was that Resorts World was asking the artists to work out of the goodness of their hearts…or for “free” as the rest of us would call it.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, local artist A.D. Cook summed up the artists’ take on the deal saying, “The employees who are experiencing this art at the hotel are being paid, why should the artists be any different?” (It’s hard to argue with that reasoning.)

In the face of withering, and justified, criticism. Resorts World officials backed off the free casino art plan and are creating a new plan that involves pay-for-work.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the E-team at Resorts World would probably not want to see the hallways there either.


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