Intriguing People 2014

Art Director: Denise R. Duarte

Head of Clark County’s new Public Art Program
Photo by Jon Estrada

Photo by Jon Estrada

ACHIEVEMENTS: As an artist whose initial focus on sculpting and ceramics has expanded into multimedia, Duarte has created eight public art projects throughout Nevada—including “Flourish,” the swirled sidewalk designs found along the city’s Cultural Corridor Urban Trail—and recently earned her MFA in community arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Now she’s the county’s main player in deciding where the next big pieces of public art will be.

HER CANVAS: Created by the Clark County Commission, the program is capped at $1.25 million and financed through a portion of the county’s allotment of the room tax and capital-projects tax. Duarte oversees a committee to identify potential sites and works with the community to determine the artwork. The first projects will be announced in a few months.

THE OPPORTUNITY: Duarte believes the program will give Clark County residents a chance to view their neighborhoods in a new light. “[There will be] iconic artwork that the people of this Valley can be very, very proud of.”

LIFE BEFORE ART: Duarte worked for 18 years in the financial services and insurance industry. “That corporate experience has really helped me.”

THE IMPACT: “When you realize that unincorporated Clark County, if it were a city, would be by far the most populous city in Nevada, you begin to understand the impact this program will have under Denise’s direction,” says Patrick Gaffey, the Clark County Parks and Recreation Department’s cultural program supervisor. “She’s exceptionally well-qualified. She has a firm grasp on every aspect of the complicated field of public art.”

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