Finally– after bit of a hiatus — the Museum of Neon Art is (re) opening in Glendale this weekend, continuing its legacy of offering a welcomed twist to the ‘art museum’ dynamic. Founded in 1981 by Lili Lakich and Richard Jenkins, the original location of the museum was centered in downtown LA. After several relocations throughout the city — including a stint in Universal City Walk, Grand Hope Park and the Historic Core — the museum has finally secured a permanent home in Glendale.
With the re-opening comes much talk of nostalgia: the reminiscent allure of walking down Sunset Blvd. at dusk, only accompanied by the faint hum of a neon lit sign overheard; maybe a luminescent red glow against the already dreamy face of your gal or beau– blissful little butterfly inducing thoughts i tell ya.
While neon signs have been used worldwide since the early 20th century, they grew exceedingly popular in the U.S. between the 1920s and 1960s; think Times Square, illuminated theatre marquees and diners telling you where to get a po-boy or a double decker burger. These are tiny bites of Americana.
In conjunction with the re-opening of MONA, a few choice events and opportunities are available for those interested in the science and art of neon signs. Led by quirky tour guides supplying neon facts and city fictions, a mainstay feature for the museum is their MONA Neon Cruise tours– which take passengers through an evening-time exploration of the Broadway theater district, Chinatown, Hollywood and in-betweens of Los Angeles to get a glimpse of a neon-illuminated LA.
Additionally, MONA’s permanent collection is nothing to scoff at. While the new location is smaller than prior ones, it will give the museum an opportunity to rotate their expansive collection throughout the space, giving attendees more than enough signage to sift through, yet, in smaller bites.
The Museum of Neon Art is located at 216 S. Brand Blvd. Glendale, 91209. You can stop in this Saturday, February 8th, for the museum’s opening celebration; tickets are available here. And to learn more about MONA, its neon cruise tours or their upcoming exhibition schedule, head to www.neonmona.org.