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Proud of the Unexpected

Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year Tim Bavington on representing the Las Vegas art scene.

People  |  Apr 25, 2017  |  By Brian Sodoma
Tim Bavington poses in his studio

Tim Bavington, 2017 College of Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year. (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services)

Editor's Note: 

The UNLV Alumni Association will celebrate the accomplishments of graduates at its annual reception and awards ceremony April 26. For a full list of honorees and event details, visit the alumni awards website

Tim Bavington, ’00 MFA Art, the 2017 College of Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year. He was born in England and came to the U.S. in 1984. His work can be found in collections at the Portland Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art in New York City and several other museums. He created a major commission titled “Pipe Dream” for Symphony Park at the Smith Center for Performing Arts. Each pipe in the sculpture represents a note in the classical masterpiece, “Fanfare for the Common Man,” by Aaron Copland.

Why I’m a proud graduate of UNLV …

Having been an undergraduate student in the ’80s and a graduate student in the ’90s, I feel very fortunate to have witnessed the growth of Las Vegas and UNLV. Any success in the arts is made with a deeper sense of accomplishment when it has come from a place people might consider unexpected. I’ve never felt this more than the time I was invited to the Museum of Modern Art in New York to discuss my work before it’s acquisition for the permanent collection.

Speaking with the curators of painting and drawing, I can only recall discussing the merits of the work itself. For me, this eliminated any reservations I may have had about seriously making art in a place others don’t take seriously. I am proud to be part of an increasing number of alumni that are continually defying expectations about the arts and Las Vegas. As a professor in the art department, it is extremely rewarding to give students the benefit of my professional experience as an example of someone who received their education at UNLV.