Cultural Freedom

Some people think culture is a tough sell in Las Vegas unless it involves sequins or a stripper pole. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts’ innovative Design Your Own Series is looking to prove them wrong.

Traditionally, performing arts centers sell subscriptions to series in dance, music or theater. To get the series discount, you had to go all-in, buying tickets for shows you wanted to see as well as those you didn’t.

The Smith Center, which is set to open in March, is letting performing-arts lovers build their own series, mixing and matching between performers as diverse as guitarist Buddy Guy, humorist David Sedaris, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and tap-dancer Savion Glover. There’s an incentive to build a big series: Three shows get a 5 percent discount, five shows 7 percent, and seven shows (out of the 19-show season) net a 15 percent discount.

It’s a smart approach. Letting the performing-arts-curious design their own series will let Las Vegans dip their toes into The Smith Center’s offerings on their own terms. In a city built on giving visitors what they want when they want it, that might be a sure bet.