Why Lyft Brought a 30-Foot Ballerina to Downtown Las Vegas

The three-month promotion, which incorporates pieces from Burning Man, is the latest example of the brand's increased focus on art-related events and stunts.

By Claire Hoffman November 6, 2018, 7:00 AM EST

One of the installation's most eye-catching pieces is Euterpe, a 30-foot ballerina marionette that can be programmed to perform four shows nightly. The piece had previously been displayed at Burning Man.

Photo: Stacey Torma

Rideshare company Lyft has been thinking outside the box lately when it comes to events. (In fact, BizBash named it one of our brands to watch last month for its innovative activations and stunts.)

The brand continues its innovative streak with the Lyft Art Park, a three-month public promotion in downtown Las Vegas. Primarily designed to address the city’s congestion and provide a safe, reliable place for pedestrians to hail a ride, the park also doubles as an eye-catching promotion for the brand.

“Our mission at Lyft is to improve people's lives with the world's best transportation,” says Lyft Nevada's general manager, Yacob Girma. “We created the Art Park in an effort to provide our passengers with an easy-to-navigate and reliable experience in downtown Las Vegas.”

The park is much more than just a functional space, though: It features large-scale, unique art pieces from around the world, many of which had previously appeared at Burning Man, the eclectic art festival that takes place in the Nevada desert every year. There are also games like corn-hole and oversize chess to entertain customers while they wait for cars.

Perhaps the most eye-catching piece is Euterpe, a 30-foot ballerina marionette made in Spain. Girma says the installation was designed to “represent humanity’s beauty through ballet.” The movable piece is programmed to perform four shows nightly.

Other highlights include a three-story Victorian house made with 75-percent recycled materials and inspired by the stories of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, plus a cartoon pink taxicab reminiscent of the car from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

“We’re transforming parking lots into public art spaces and giving guests the opportunity to see pieces they normally wouldn’t be able to see.”

“We plan to change the main art pieces out routinely,” explains Girma, who says that Euterpe will soon be swapped for Long View, a 35-foot-tall polar bear made from salvaged white car hoods designed to symbolize the impact of humans’ carbon footprint on animal habitats. 

“Our goal is to select installations that can’t be housed in the Smithsonian’s current exhibit due to their large size,” he says. “We’re transforming parking lots into public art spaces and giving guests the opportunity to see pieces they normally wouldn’t be able to see.”

The Art Park isn’t Lyft’s first eye-catching, art-focused promotion. To celebrate its fifth anniversary in Los Angeles in July 2017, the brand painted a car wash bright pink and offered $1 rides to drivers; all proceeds benefited the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The brand also brought the pink car wash concept to Las Vegas this fall, with proceeds benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

And at an event in New York in August, Lyft worked with Snarkitecture to create a unique self-driving car installation made with a mixture of upholstery foam and wood.

Perhaps the brand’s biggest art-focused event so far was the inaugural Intergalactic Art Car Festival, which brought one-of-a-kind art cars to the Las Vegas Strip in June. Sponsored by Lyft, the festival raised more than $20,000 for local art programs.

“Lyft feels arts programs teach a creative process to solve problems, including how to get a ride in less than three minutes at the tap of a button,” says Girma.

"[The Intergalactic Art Car Festival] reiterated our mission of improving people’s lives through the world’s best transportation. The Art Park is the next iteration of that, and we hope to continue partnering with creative artists to create these unique experiences and showcase amazing pieces of art.”

Lyft worked with Fired Up Management, which curated the pieces for the park. Click through the slide show to see photos from the activation, which will be on display on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street until January 4. 

Launch Slide Show

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