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Sphere launches student design challenge

First time members of the general public will see their art featured on the Exosphere, with challenge open exclusively to more than 100,000 students across Las Vegas

Sphere Entertainment Co has announced the inaugural Sphere XO Student Design Challenge – a first-of-its-kind partnership with the greater Las Vegas community that gives select members of the general public the opportunity to see their art featured on the Exosphere.

The Sphere XO Student Design Challenge is a collaboration between Sphere and the Clark County School District (CCSD) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) that will provide more than 100,000 Clark County-based students with an unprecedented opportunity to create art for the Exosphere. Eight student winners ranging from elementary school through college will be chosen by a combination of voting by the general public on, and selected by professional artists who have designed for the Exosphere, including Refik Anadol and Michela Picchi.

Kicking off this month, the challenge will be themed around the 4th of July, with winning students’ artwork debuting on the Exosphere on July 4, 2024, which will also mark the one-year anniversary of the first illumination of the Exosphere. In addition, winning high school and UNLV students will receive a $10,000 educational scholarship from Sphere. Winning elementary and middle school students will earn a $10,000 donation from Sphere for their school’s art program to further art education in public schools, as well as tickets for their entire school to attend The Sphere Experience this Fall.

“Sphere is more than a venue – it is a new entertainment medium uniting art and science to broaden our understanding of what’s possible through artistic and technological innovation,” said Jim Dolan, executive chairman and CEO, Sphere Entertainment. “Sphere XO Student Design Challenge is an opportunity for us to engage Las Vegas students by introducing them to Sphere’s technology, and meaningfully give back to the community by inspiring its future.”

Refik Anadol, world-renowned digital artist, added: “I have a deep understanding and appreciation for the determination required by young artists who hope to break into the art world – this is an excellent opportunity to showcase their work to a global audience. I am honoured to participate and support these students at the beginning of their journey toward what I hope will be productive careers in the arts.”

Nancy Uscher, Dean of UNLV College of Fine Arts, said: “The intersection of art and technology is a consistent throughline in our curriculum and a crucial priority for students pursuing careers in these rapidly evolving industries. Sphere serves as a real-world example of innovation in art, and we’re thrilled that our student body has the chance to become active participants in this cultural achievement.”

Since the Exosphere was first illuminated on July 4, 2023, it has captured worldwide attention for its impactful visuals. The largest LED screen on Earth, the Exosphere consists of approximately 1.2 million LED pucks, spaced eight inches apart. Each puck contains 48 individual LED diodes, with each diode capable of displaying more than 1 billion different colours – creating a vivid landmark on the Las Vegas skyline.