By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 17, 2007 at 7:19 AM

March 12-18 is Milwaukee in Las Vegas Week on  Last month, Funjet Vacations sent our editorial team to Vegas, where we sought out connections between Brew City and Sin City.  These are our stories …

You don’t even have to step foot in Vegas to know that it is the kingdom of artifice. Even its castle -- the Excalibur -- isn’t a REAL castle, is it?! The REAL Vegas can appear to exist solely to recreate other real places artificially.

For examples, look no further than the Venetian’s gondola-laden canals (with water so turquoise it looks piped in from the Chicago River), New York New York’s faux Manhattan skyline and Paris’ 2/3-size (or so) Eiffel Tower.

But in the world of art -- no, not velvet paintings of Elvis, Sinatra or the card sharp pooches -- Vegas has become something of a player and if you back slowly away from the black jack table, you can even find a lot of it on the Strip.

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art,
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, (702) 693-7870

People chuckled when Steve Wynn brought fine art to the strip, but the Bellagio Gallery has proved popular and no one’s laughing now. Currently on view is “Ansel Adams: America,” featuring the iconic photographs of one of the country’s most famous photographers. Previous shows have hung works by Warhol, Calder, Monet, Corot and van Gogh, among others. Admission is $15 for adults.

Guggenheim Hermitage Museum
The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, (702) 414-2440

The museum (pictured above) offers the kind of gallery space you’d expect from a Guggenheim --- sleek and modern -- and the kinds of exhibitions you’d expect too. During our Vegas visit, the galleries were preparing to open the anticipated “Treasures from the Guggenheim and Hermitage Collections: Picasso, Monet and More.” Past shows have spotlighted Rubens, Pop Art, ancient Egyptian works and the French Impressionists. Most recently, there was a show of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs, exploring their links to the classical tradition. Admission is $19.50 and it’s open daily.

Las Vegas Art Museum
9600 W. Sahara Ave., (702) 360-8000

LVAM focuses on modern and contemporary art and currently features an exhibition on Frank Gehry’s architecture. It will be replaced in April by a pair of shows spotlighting Japanese artists. A growing permanent collection is augmented with classes, community outreach programs, lectures and more. At $6, admission is a steal in Vegas. Be aware, LVAM is closed Mondays.

Vegas’ Contemporary Art Collective
231 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 110, (702) 382-3886

LVCAC was launched in 1989 as a place for students to explore the visual arts. Now there is a gallery, exhibitions, classes and more and CAC boasts about 1,000 members. Admission to the gallery is free.

Of course, as in any city, there are a number of galleries, which you can easily find online or with the help of your hotel concierge in Vegas. 

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.