LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Time flies when you're having fun which is what they're saying over at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts these days. The Center opened one year ago this week and quickly became a cultural hub for the valley.
News 3's Denise Rosch visited The Smith Center where they're feeling good about the future.
The Center is celebrated its first year in business by giving back and inviting 1,500 school kids to see a special performance of the “Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales.”
Most of the kids read the story before arriving to The Smith Center. During this first year The Smith Center has put on some 450 performances including Broadway Shows to classic ballets.
President and CEO of The Smith Center Myron Martin says it has been an amazing year and to stayed tuned for season two.
“I’m not sure you can top year one. It's pretty spectacular but I think we're going to do it,” Martin said. “Our Broadway Las Vegas series has 10 titles starting with Les Mis and ending with Book of Mormon and eight incredible titles in between and that's just Broadway. When you talk about music, theater and dance there really will be some spectacular shows coming to Las Vegas.”
Martin said during the past 365 days The Center has held around 480 performances with more than one a day at the Smith Center.”
And he says he's proud of how The Center has helped boost interest in downtown.
“People come a little early they go have a bite to eat before the show then after they go find a place to have a drink and talk about what they've seen,” Martin said.
The student performances will continue over the next few days. Employees at The Smith Center say it's their goal to have every child in the district visit the Center sometime during their school career.
“I'm selfish because not only am I excited, but they're excited,” said teacher Tracy Barkhuff. “We get an opportunity to dress up, they all wear their fancy clothes and come to the theater.”
For many of the students this is their first chance to see live theater. Other than the school buses, everything is paid for by The Smith Center. It’s a community partnership that's a big part of who they are.
The Smith Center’s success has had a spillover effect on the entire community. Just ask Kris Hightower who knows his cafe isn't always easy to find.
“We are one of those hidden gems inside the melting brain clinic,” Hightower said.
Tucked inside the courtyard of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is Hightower’s Velvet Café. Hightowerrelies on downtown for customers and having a popular next door neighbor certainly has not hurt.
"Now people ask where is The Smith Center, or the Discovery Museum? Right over here, have a sandwich,” Hightower said.