The Rita Deanin Abbey Art Museum preserves, presents, and advances the artistic legacy of Rita Deanin Abbey through exhibitions, programs, and events.
The Rita Deanin Abbey Art Museum is a Las Vegas destination museum that is locally relevant and internationally
The Rita Deanin Abbey Art Museum invites, inspires, and provides experiences for all visitors. We strive to make
meaningful connections with audiences that celebrate the art and life of artist Rita Deanin Abbey.
The Rita Deanin Abbey Art Museum honors a passionate artist who has left us a magnificent
legacy. The museum opened in 2022 – one year after the artist’s death – and presents a wondrous
selection of art created by one woman – Rita Deanin Abbey.
In the mid-1980s, Abbey and her husband, Robert Belliveau, built a home, artist’s studio, and
sculpture garden on this 10-acre site. In the 2010s, they undertook the construction of the 10,500-
square-foot museum, which today presents a career-spanning exhibition of Abbey’s work in all its
variety -- from abstract expressionist paintings to figure drawings, enamels, landscapes, stained
glass, murals, sculptures, and more. She worked with an enormous range of materials,
techniques, styles, and themes to create artworks that range from the delicately small to the
multi-ton steel sculptures on view in the sculpture garden.
Born in 1930, Abbey grew up in Passaic, New Jersey. She attended Goddard College in Vermont
and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree
in 1954. While living in the American Southwest, she developed a strong affinity for the natural
environment. She was awed by the majesty of the desert and fascinated by the geology, plant life,
and wildlife. Abbey stated that “the infinite wonder of nature has had the greatest influence on my
work. I have explored desert landscapes and have been deeply affected by rock formations,
vistas, sunsets, rivers, and the colors and textures of secret canyons.”
Moving to Las Vegas in 1965, Abbey served as an art professor at the University of Nevada, Las
Vegas, for over twenty years. She retired from teaching in 1987 and devoted full time to writing
and making art, including creating monumental public art installations and participating in solo
and group exhibitions worldwide. Abbey passed away on March 20, 2021.