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Nevada neon lights up the NMA

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Exhibition installation at the Nevada Museum of Art. Photography by Jamie Kingham. Collection of Will Durham.
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Celebrate the holidays this year with a trip down memory lane in The Light Circus: Art of Nevada Neon Signs. From flashing incandescent bulbs to candy-colored neon tubes, these vintage signs evoke a bygone era when the Mapes Hotel Casino, Harold’s Club and Nevada Club were packed with revelers and The Rat Pack crooned. On view through February 10, 2013, the exhibition includes signs from Parker’s Western Wear, the Holiday Hotel and Buffalo Bar – all from the collection of Renoite Will Durham.

For the past year, Durham and the Nevada Museum of Art spent countless hours restoring this collection of signs amassed over the last decade. For Durham, who acquired his first sign in 1996, collecting the pieces has been a labor of love. In many cases, he has gone to great lengths to save signs that would have otherwise been discarded, but Durham recognized that saving them was crucial to preserving Nevada’s history.

“When you consider how each sign developed —from concept through to the illustrators, metal workers, painters and neon artists—you realize how each sign is completely unique,” said Durham. “They not only represent an outpouring of creative content, but they also serve as a legacy to the industries of our region.”

Join the Museum on Thursday, January 17 from 6 to 8 pm for Reno’s Mad Men: Celebrating the Oral Histories of Old Reno in Sound, Light, and Image. Listen to the voices of old Reno’s “mad men”, share your own stories, and enjoy a classic cocktail in the gallery, surrounded by the signs in The Light Circus: Art of Nevada Neon. $10 / $8 Museum members.

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