Hoping to attract a bigger audience – and move beyond slot machines and poker tables – some retail casinos started introducing fine art and exhibitions to bring in new business from visitors who might have never come to a gambling venue.
Some inland casinos go the extra mile by featuring the world’s greatest works of art. Examples of casinos featuring art pieces or exhibitions include Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, the Palms Casino Resort and ARIA Resort and Casino, all in Las Vegas, and Hard Rock Atlantic City.
The latter will feature a limited-run art exhibition and sale this weekend with Ringo Starr of The Beatles taking the stage.
Hard Rock Atlantic City’s art exhibits
Starr will perform at Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena on Sept. 24. Starr has already arrived in Atlantic City as his artwork is featured during a free-to-attend 40-piece art exhibition and sale at the casino from Sept. 21. to Sept. 23.
Proceeds will benefit the Los-Angeles based Lotus Foundation, which works to fund, support, participate in and promote charitable projects to advance social welfare in diverse areas, such as health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and animals in need.
Each piece of artwork will be numbered and hand-signed by Starr. The gallery will also offer signed copies of Starr’s art book Painting is my Madness Too – The ART of Ringo Starr.
Anthony Faranca, Hard Rock Atlantic City’s president, said:
“Hard Rock Atlantic City continuously strives to offer unique and diverse entertainment experiences for all of our guests. Ringo Starr’s art exhibition will not only showcase his unique talent as an artist, but also is an opportunity to give back to those underserved communities through the Lotus Foundation, which we are proud to support.”
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City was also a host to the largest walk-through exhibit in the country, “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,“ which took place Jul. 8 – Aug. 28. The exhibition showcased over 300 of Van Gogh’s artworks, using cutting-edge projection technology by reproducing them digitally and projecting art pieces onto screens, walls and floors.
Other casinos showcasing fine art
The trend has spread to several other casino venues across the US, which hope to attract new audiences with fine art and immersive art experience.
Such examples include the Gallery of Fine Art at Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, which was one of the originals to start the trend when it opened in 1998.
It has presented intimate exhibitions with displayed works by Picasso, Monet, Warhol, Titian and Van Gogh and usually features rotating exhibitions that last for a few months. The casino resort’s gallery is one the biggest ones in the area, attracting both gamblers and art-loving tourists.
The ARIA Fine Art Collection presented the first major permanent art collection in Las Vegas integrated into a public space with art pieces, installations, sculptures and more by artists including Claes Oldenburg, Jenny Holzer, Antony Gormley, Richard Long and Henry Moore.
Likewise, the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas currently contains works by Scott Hove, Robery Munday, REVOK and more.
Another example of a gambling venue featuring an art collection is Maryland’s Live! Casino & Hotel.
Suzi Cordish, the wife of David Cordish, a real estate mogul and owner of Live Casino and Hotel, wanted guests at Maryland’s property to be amazed by the casino’s artwork. She, therefore, commissioned The Cordish Art Collection with 40-plus works of art displayed throughout the hotel.
The connection between casinos and art
According to Fanny Curtat, the Van Gogh exhibit historian, placing fine art in casinos benefits not only the gambling halls by appealing to new customers but also helps create new art lovers.
As Curtat told Associated Press:
“It might seem like an unlikely pairing (of casinos and art), but if anybody gets out of this a feeling that they have this connection with Van Gogh, maybe the next time they are in New York they’ll want to go to (The Museum of Modern Art) and see the actual ‘Starry Night’ on the museum wall. That will be a win.”
On the same occasion, Renee Mutchnik, a spokesperson for Live! Casino & Hotel told AP:
“We believe that any appreciator of the arts would be impressed by our art pieces, and we are always looking for opportunities to promote the collection.”
Another reason casinos chose to have art is to make their venues more than just gaming destinations and to enhance their guests’ experiences.
Furthermore, casinos aim to introduce art into their gambling halls in order to present the place as luxurious. People are more likely to return to such sites if something is pretty or eye-catching.
And if a casino venue has something especially unique that it’s offering its visitors, guests are more likely to recommend a place and invite others.