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Check out Vegas' remarkable public art, from 'Popeye' to a winged jackalope

Some of Las Vegas’ best artworks are hidden in plain sight. The city’s resorts have spent many millions on art in lobbies or on the grounds. Some are permanent displays, others change out.

The newest example is a work by artist Anne Patterson, which brings the bright blue desert sky indoors at the Venetian. Unveiled earlier this month, the piece hangs from the ceiling of a 55-foot atrium.

The Manhattan-based artist used a mind-boggling 32 miles of satin ribbon to create the work. It consists of 3,500 strands in 15 varying shades of blue, green and purple.

“My goal is to have the audience experience art in a transformative way,” Patterson said in a prepared statement. “Moving pathways of vibrant color will surround the visitor sharing beauty and light to all who see it.”

Just across Sands Avenue, Wynn Las Vegas invites guests to relish its hot air balloon and animated carousel. Just don’t try climbing aboard either since they’re made of 110,000 flowers.

It took designer Preston Bailey and his crew 3,500 hours to create the two whimsical displays.

“I thought it would be ideal to create something dramatic out of flowers,” Bailey said in a news release. “I use them as my clay, molding them into something distinctive and awe-inspiring.”

A short walk away is what some might call the resort’s piece de resistance, a sculpture of Popeye, the cartoon and comic book hero.

Casino mogul Steve Wynn, or at least his art curator, must have really liked the piece. The resort paid $28,165,000 for “Popeye” at a Sotheby’s auction of fine art.

Sculptor Jeff Koons crafted the iconic hero out of stainless steel, and then applied coats of transparent colors to maintain a shiny, mirror-like effect. Standing 6.5 feet tall, it weighs 2,000 pounds.

Look beyond the retail and restaurant facades while strolling through the Linq Promenade and you’ll spot great examples of street art.

The Linq Mural Project is the brainchild of the ISI Group, a Las Vegas art collaborative. In the true spirit of street art, each spray-painted mural exists only until another artist paints over it.

You’ll find plenty of eye-popping public art as you wander through the sprawling CityCenter, which is home to several hotels including Aria and the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas.

Artist Nancy Rubins used more than 200 salvaged canoes and rowboats to create “Big Edge.” When it was created in 2009, Rubins repeatedly rearranged the boats until she was satisfied that the installation appeared to be a giant flower in full bloom.

Nearby, in the lobby of the Vdara hotel, hangs one of CityCenter’s pieces that wasn’t newly crafted for the property.

Frank Stella’s “Damascus Gate Variation I,” painted in 1969, hangs behind the hotel’s reception desk. Named for an ancient circular city, the massive piece of canvas is 32 feet long and 8 feet high.

The painting is described as one of the most prominent in the artist’s acclaimed “Protractor” series.

(This map is admittedly a bit dated – for instance, the Harmon hotel has been torn down – but it provides an overview of where CityCenter’s works of art are.)

Down the Strip a bit, at Mandalay Bay, Puerto Rican street artist Alex Diaz has put his mark on Libertine Social, a relatively new gastropub.

Diaz drew inspiration from animals and surrealism to create his mural of a mythical jackalope. His paintings can also be found in the restaurant’s al fresco dining patio that overlooks the resort’s beach.

The art at the Tropicana has been in place for nearly 40 years.

You need to look up as you walk through the casino to be awed by something very different from the flashy displays on the slots. High above the tables, you’ll spot a Tiffany-style, stained-glass ceiling covering 4,000 square feet.

With an emphasis on red stained glass and brass accents, the ceiling was designed by architect Tony DeVroude and installed in 1979.

The Tropicana resort celebrated its 60th anniversary in April.

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