Desert Wildlife  |  1999  

large scale installation  commissioned for McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada

“Desert Wildlife” was commissioned by Clark County, Nevada for the new “Gate D” terminal of the McCarran International Airport serving Las Vegas. The installation consists of five individual sculptures; each depicting an animal that lives in the surrounding desert. The animals are a Scorpion, Desert Tortoise, Mojave Rattlesnake, Horned Lizard, and a Black tailed jackrabbit.

In 1992 I saw a Request for Qualifications that was listed in ArtWeek. I sent slides & a resume in response to that RFQ in October of 1992

In Feb of 1995 I got a phone call from Denise Shapiro telling me that a client wanted me to propose a sculptural installation for the not yet complete Gate D Terminal of the Airport. 

Since 2 1/2 years had passed I had completely forgotten about that RFQ so I had no idea where this came from. They said they liked my work and wanted a proposal. Through a collaborative effort with the Art Committee we slowly arrived at the five giant desert animals that all live in the environment surrounding Las Vegas.

I was awarded the commission and installed the sculptures in two separate trips. It was on one of those trips that I met Denise Shapiro for the first time and in conversation, for the first time, realized that this commission came from that forgotten RFQ back in 1992; seven years prior to installation. Years after that I came across the original RFQ that I had dropped in a file and forgotten.
— David L Phelps