Matt Edwards, Projects Manager

For Edwards, who oversaw more than 2,600 construction workers and numerous design consultants for the Smith Center, the devil was in the details. The overriding objective, he says, was “to instill in every worker’s mind that everything had to be done perfectly—no cutting corners. It’s a tough thing to teach people to do. Everybody wants to do it quickly and get on to the next thing.” He finds it particularly gratifying that the Smith Center is an ecologically advanced building— it has been awarded the highest LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified ranking—on what had been the toxic site of a former railroad yard. “It wasn’t just another job,” he says. “We were all proud to be a part of that vision.” That camaraderie was reinforced when the builders were included in various ceremonies that marked different phases of the construction, all of which came in on time and on budget. “The last thing you want to have to do,” he says with a laugh, “is go back to the donors and say, ‘We need more money because we screwed it up.’”

 

Tim Bavington, Artist

Bavington rarely accepts what he calls “requests.” But the British-born artist readily agreed when the Smith Center’s leaders asked if he would consider creating a work based on Aaron Copland’s symphonic suite “Fanfare for the Common Man.” “I thought it just fit,” says Bavington, who has lived in Las Vegas since 1993. The results are two works: Fanfare (for the Common Man), a five-byeight- foot polymer painting in the lobby of Reynolds Hall; and Pipe Dream (Fanfare for the Common Man), a three-dimensional, 80-foot-long installation of steel pipes in varying lengths in the adjacent Symphony Park. Copland’s music itself guided the works, he says, although the colors and specs of the stripes are not exactly correlated to the length of the notes as in previous works. “It begins with the score as a sketch but then the work becomes adjusted as I proceed,” he says. “For the piece in the park, it worked out perfectly. The score is just under 40 bars [of music], so every couple of feet of the work is a bar.”

 

Tim Sage, Technical Director

Sage says he doesn’t mind if patrons place high demands on him and his team of technicians. For Sage, what is paramount is the patron’s appreciation of the aural and visual experience at the Smith Center. “You want to define every single instrument and the vocals on top of that—and the audience is expecting us to deliver on that,” he says. “We have to make sure that those who come to the Smith Center walk out knowing that they have experienced a magnificent show on every level.” Unlike arts institutions devoted to one discipline, the center must be versatile enough to accommodate symphonies, dance concerts, Broadway shows, even the occasional wedding. “The acousticians have very carefully designed the house to reflect, refract, and re-route sound,” he says, noting that drapes and doors can be opened and closed to either reflect or absorb sound as the occasion requires. “I want people on my team who’ve failed, and picked themselves up and gone on,” he says. “They know what to expect and to anticipate something before it hits.”

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