LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Valentino Vettori remembers the moment he faced a choice that would forever change the trajectory of his life.
As an artist working in fashion, the industry was a way he could express himself and tell stories.
"Many years ago, I did an event and it lasted one week. And I created 14 trucks of garbage," he said. "I was looking at it and I realized that I am a pollution."
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Fashion was more than a creative outlet, though. It was how Vettori supported his family. But at that moment he says he realized his job was also jeopardizing their future.
"So, I left."
He decided to refocus his talents. Collaborating with other artists, Vettori founded and designed "Arcadia Earth."
'Arcadia Earth': Capture the moment, share with friends
"Arcadia Earth" is an interactive art experience that spans 15 rooms, each with different themes and ways to engage.
The exhibit first opened in New York, and now Vettori is bringing "Arcadia Earth" to the Showcase Mall on the Las Vegas Strip.
It was scheduled to open on Jan. 7, 2022, but due to rising COVID-19 cases, a representative says the opening has been temporarily delayed. No new opening date has been announced just yet but we will be sure to update the story when that information is available.
"The mission is to inspire, inform and activate anyone who is interested in climate change," explained Vettori.
At times, you'll find augmented reality, virtual reality, repurposed materials, projection mapping — even smell stations.
Vettori says he wanted to design a space where people can create memories and experiences that they can capture and share with friends.
He uses art and technology to activate the senses and do what he does best, tell a story.
"We are talking in a positive way about climate change, where it's no longer terrifying, but it's fun," he said.
Opportunities to take action
At the end of each room, you'll find a monitor with information about the artists — and the grim facts that inspired their work.
The Rainbow Cave, for example, is made of 60,000 recycled plastic bags.
Vettori says that's a fraction of what we use globally, not every day or every hour or even every minute — every second.
It's not all bad news though, also on the monitors you'll find actions you can take to make a difference.
"Every day little changes that can have an impact," he said. "Each room highlights a challenge, but it also gives you the opportunity to make a change."
Leading the way in Las Vegas
Vettori is excited to bring the exhibit to Las Vegas, partly because of our conservation efforts.
"We really were fascinated by what we found, is sitting in the middle of the desert," he said.
And he's right. Las Vegas is a leader when it comes to water conservation.
40% of the water we use gets pumped right back into Lake Mead, our largest water source, and we continue to take steps to lower our water footprint.
Around this time last year, a measure was passed to ban nonfunctional grass — like at office parks and street medians —which officials say is a huge water waster.
Just for perspective, the Bellagio fountains consume less Colorado River than the Dunes Golf Course that was there in the past.
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"I found these things very important to enjoy Vegas as the new home."
Still, water conservation is an ongoing effort.
This year, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico will endure their first-ever mandatory cuts amid a federally declared water shortage. The hope is to keep Lake Mead from falling to 1,020 feet.
As of Jan. 8, Lake Mead's water level is 1,066.61.
And at "Arcadia Earth," water conservation is just one chapter of a much larger story. A story that, Vettori says, needs to be told.
"We spend entire days on a cell phone sharing, sometimes, nonsense. Well, maybe we could take a moment to start sharing something that is important," he said.
"It's probably one of the greatest things we can do from home without any effort."
Learn more on arcadia-earth.com.
The Showcase Mall is located on the Las Vegas Strip at 3785 Las Vegas Boulevard South, across the street from MGM Park. The entrance is near M&M World next to Adidas.
Do you know an artist who should be featured in the "Las Vegas Art Scene" or have an upcoming art experience in the Las Vegas area to share? Email email@example.com.