Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal
Abbey, Joshua, 1956-
Joshua Abbey was born to author, Edward Abbey (1927-1989), and artist, Rita Deanin Abbey in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 12, 1956. Abbey first moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1964. He founded Theater Exposed, a company that produced numerous original and experimental theatrical productions. He studied with Lee Strasberg in Los Angeles, California and worked as a professional actor. Abbey eventually returned to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Theater. He went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Producing from the American Film Institute (AFI). His graduate thesis film was entitled Monkey Park and starred Amanda Plummer and Tim Roth.
In 1991, he was invited to the be the project manager for an innovative found art installation and concert in Bern, Switzerland titled Sound Bridge. During his travels, Abbey met the love of his life, Yve Eiholzer (now Yve Eiholzer-Abbey), a fellow Thespian. Eventually the couple made Las Vegas their permanent residence, and Abbey became the Programming Specialist for the Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center. During his tenure, he produced the Las Vegas Literary Film Festival and the Literary Laureate Lectures.
Abbey worked as the Program Director and Community Relations Director for the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas from 1995 to 1998. During this time, he established the Jean Weinberger Museum of Jewish Culture where he was the director and curator. Abbey produced several major community-wide events for the Federation, such as the Interfaith Coalition on the Environment, which established a unified religious opposition to the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.
In 1998 Abbey founded the CineVegas Film Festival. Abbey was appointed by the Governor of Nevada to the Nevada Arts Council and served on the executive committee with a special focus on the Community Arts Development division of the agency from 2005 to 2008. Abbey served as the chairman of the City of Las Vegas Arts Commission from 2008 to 2010, where he helped author and successfully lobby for a Percent for the Arts ordinance that provided over $500,000 in annual revenue for the arts. Abbey also was the first full-time employee for the Blue Man Group's Las Vegas production where he was responsible for creating the initial promotion and marketing for the multi-media theatrical production.
As the director of the Desert Space Foundation, Abbey produced an international design competition exhibition related to the proposed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Depository. A major focus of the Desert Space Foundation is the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival (LVJFF) which was founded in 2001. As of 2016, the LVJFF is the longest running film festival in Nevada. The film festival utilizes the art of film and interactive educational discourse to enhance and strengthen awareness of Jewish culture, history, and identity. As of 2017 Abbey is still the director of the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival and works for the non-profit organization, Robert Rock Belliveau and Rita Deanin Abbey Foundation.
Abbey, Rita Deanin. Interview, 2014 November 29. OH-02192. Transcript. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bell, Josh. "Las Vegas' longest-running film fest celebrates 10 years." Las Vegas Sun. January 12, 2011. http://lasvegassun.com/news/2011/jan/12/last-vegas-longest-running-film-fest/.