Vegas Entrepreneur Gambles on Folk Art Treasure Hunt

One Las Vegas collector is getting set to give away 100 works from his personal collection, but is it all just a PR stunt? Branden Michael Powers, a prolific collector of folk art and the owner of a Vegas-based marketing firm, will launch a 100-day-long urban treasure hunt tomorrow, September 30. Every day through January 1, 2015, he will plant one artwork from his collection at a new location around Las Vegas, according to a press release.

Powers, who is described on his company’s website as a “nightlife impresario,” is currently a consultant at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Though little is known about his collecting habits, as part of his folk art treasure hunt he’ll be parting with works by the whirligig master of Rabbittown R. A. Miller, Texan singer and demented comics artist Daniel Johnston, singer-songwriter and urban draftsman Wesley Willis, encyclopedic sculptor and painter—and R.E.M. collaboratorHoward Finster, and others. Powers plans to drop most of the works around downtown Las Vegas, near Fremont Street and the arts district, while others will be peppered around the Las Vegas Strip and in more low-income neighborhoods.

Though there’s no word on whether or not Powers will be leaving clues to his surreptitious folk art deposits on social media, this stunt strikes us as a distinctly Vegas variant of the “Free Art Fridays” trend that is sweeping American cities (see “‘Free Art Fridays,’ a Treasure Hunt Powered by Instagram, Takes Off in NYC“).


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