By Robert Spencer Davidson
Photo by: Lisa Bishop
An aviation-themed art sculpture near the gateway to the Nellis Air Force Base on Las Vegas Blvd. The project was approved by the County Commission in 2017 using the County's Arts Plan Funding. The sculpture was dedicated Monday, May 24, 2021 at 9 a.m.
Sculptor Robert Spencer Davidson was selected back in 2019 to create the sculpture titled "Absolute Ceiling." Davidson designed, fabricated, and installed a large-scale 130-foot sculpture that includes 22 cobalt blue rising and twisting columns that meet at a bright orange central pylon that protrudes upwards through a 20-foot-wide aluminum ellipse. All elements of the sculpture, including bright green metal yuccas, are highlighted at night using solar lights. "Traffic medians generally help control traffic," said John L’Etoile, Nevada Department of Transportation Landscape Architect Supervisor. “Public art can beautify these areas and create a practical barrier that helps prevent jaywalking along a busy street. It adds value and culture to the community.”
“This project brings color and life to the location,” said Chairman Marylin Kirkpatrick. “Nellis Air Force Base is a great community partner and it was important to have them involved in the process.”
The term "Absolute Ceiling" is the highest altitude at which an aircraft can sustain level flight. Davidson feels this can be applied to life lessons, saying, "just do the very best you can." He used inspiration from locals at the adjacent bus stop, who wanted something colorful and unique for their neighborhood. Also, being passionate about aviation and a pilot that routinely flies thru the Nellis airspace, he relates to the Thunderbirds, the pilots, and all the women and men working on our valley's prestigious well-known air force base.
“Many of the men and women who serve on Nellis Air Force Base live in this community,” said Col. Todd Dwyer, Commander, 99th Air Base Wing of Nellis Air Force Base. “They have homes here; their families work here, and their children go to school here. We consider ourselves neighbors and value the support and strong connection we have with the Las Vegas community. Having the sculpture right outside our gates serves as a visual reminder of that important relationship.”
Robert Spencer Davidson is a local sculptor and artisan who has experience creating large-scale projects. His career includes large sculpting projects for Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. He designed and sculpted Vegas' own "Lady Liberty" at the New York, New York Hotel & Casino, and was also lead sculpture for the head of the Great Sphinx at the Luxor Hotel & Casino.
It is not encouraged to view the art from the median! Please be safe and observe from the sidewalk on either side of Las Vegas Blvd.