Planning for a Center for the Performing Arts at UNLV began in 1966, ten years before the opening of the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall. The initial idea for the center came from then University President Donald C. Moyer. Since Las Vegas was an entertainment capital, Moyer thought it only natural for Las Vegas’s University to be nationally prominent in its musical and theatrical offerings; a Center for the Performing Arts would help the University attain this status. Moyer worked diligently with local business people and philanthropists to raise the funds for the construction of the Concert Hall and the Judy Bayley Theatre.
Over the ten year period a true public-private partnership developed, raising a combined total of $6.6 million for the construction of both spaces. The Judy Bayley Theatre opened in 1972. Renowned consultants such as George C. Izenour were brought in to consult on the design of the acoustic, stage, and technical amenities of the theatre. The Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall opened in 1976 and was designed by the firm Moffitt and McDaniel; the acoustical consultants were Bolt, Beranek and Newman of Los Angeles and the Auerbach Association of San Francisco.
Recent additions to the buildings, along with the construction of the Alta Ham Fine Arts Complex in 1982 – made possible by a $700,000 donation from the second generation of the Artemus W. Ham family – and the Lee and Thomas Beam Music Center (completed in 2001), provide the University with a variety of venues for intimate recitals, rehearsals, a music listening center, and much more.
UNLV recently added a 1,600-space parking garage which is home to the Performing Arts Center’s Box Office at the north end of campus, near the performing arts facilities and the UNLV Foundation. In 2006, the garage will be expanded, adding another 800 parking spots. These three spaces share a beautifully designed plaza at the end of a looping driveway, making event parking and box office access a convenient and pleasant experience for patrons.