The Sphere in Las Vegas launches a Student Design Challenge

Gen Zphere

The Sphere in Las Vegas launches a Student Design Challenge

Sphere XO Student Design Challenge invites local students to come up with designs that will display on the Sphere this July. (Courtesy Sphere Entertainment)

“Sphere is more than a venue,” said Jim Dolan, executive chairman and CEO of Sphere Entertainment and MSG Entertainment. Since the bright, titanic-sized ball in landed in the middle of Las Vegas last summer, the graphics emblazoned on its exterior and the stunts that followed have captured the public’s attention. Its cool eye-catching visual designs have been impactful seeing its LED pucks transform night after night. Following commissions from Refik Anadol, now the Sphere is extending the design invitation to the youngest of artists with its Sphere XO Student Design Challenge. 

The design competition invites students from the Clark County School District (CCSD) and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to think and submit designs to glow on the exterior of the Sphere this upcoming Fourth of July. The obvious theme for the debut will be the Fourth of July holiday. The debut of the winning designs will also commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Sphere.

“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,” Dolan added. 

The Sphere student design challenge is more than just an amicable attempt at community building. Winning entrants from UNLV will receive a $10,000 scholarship from Sphere, while the selected designs from elementary and middle school students will earn a $10,000 donation for their school’s art program. 

School administrators will weed through the submissions from elementary and middle schoolers and select one student work from each district. They will then whittle down the pool to the 60 best submissions which will be digitizedby Sphere Entertainment and put up to a public vote.

For the high school and college students, school administrators at Clark County School District high schools and UNLV will each name 30 students with a passion for design to participate. Each of the chosen students will be given a VR headset, digital design applications, and help from Sphere designers to ideate their proposal.

Eight student winners will then be chosen from the general public via the Sphere’s website. Artists that have previously designed for the Sphere will also weigh in. A total of 120 digitized submissions will be viewable in late May for public voting. 

Past Sphere designs have been patriotic, some not. The close-up animated blinking eye was hauntingly-memorable, while other designs such as a replica of the moon were calm and an inviting sight to see. The imagination limit for these students is non-existent. Perhaps an Uncle-Sam version of the yellow emoji sphere will be the clear winner on July 4.