Las Vegas Sun

May 29, 2017

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Art gone Vegas: The Neon Museum hits the Strip and Cirque’s artists exhibit at Neonopolis

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The Red Barn sign—from one of Las Vegas’ first gay bars—will be the first Neon Museum piece to visit the Fashion Show mall.

Interesting Vegas art happenings are on the way.

Sometime in June, the Neon Museum and the Fashion Show mall will partner to create the first satellite space on the Strip for the museum’s historic neon art. The Fashion Show’s Strip-side plaza will be the home of the Red Barn sign, a lovely martini marquee from the antique store that opened on Tropicana Avenue in the late 1950s and converted into a bar in the early 1960s. Before 1970 came around, the Red Barn had become one of Las Vegas’ first gay bars, home of the RB Follies show and headquarters for the publishing of the RB Rag, one of the earliest gay magazines in Southern Nevada. It closed in 1988.

After several months, the Red Barn sign will rejoin the Neon Museum’s collection and a different installation will take its place.

"For decades, the Las Vegas Strip earned notoriety for tearing down and removing historic buildings and the neon signs associated with them," said Rob McCoy, president and chief executive officer of the Neon Museum, in the announcement. "With this effort, Fashion Show takes a step toward reversing that trend by reintroducing iconic and historic neon signage to the Strip, where it can be enjoyed by tens of millions of visitors."

Odds are those visitors will also be inclined to visit the downtown museum, too.

"This display is just the start," said Jim Heilmann, senior general manager at Fashion Show. "Our concierge team will work with the museum to provide special incentives for our shoppers to visit the world-famous Neon Museum Boneyard. Throughout the year, we will host events and provide fundraising opportunities to enhance our shared mission of spreading beauty and culture."

So there you have it: Downtown art sliding to the Strip. And then there’s the reverse effect, when Strip art moves downtown: On June 1, Cirque du Soleil’s 12th annual art exhibition, The Collective, will begin its month-long display at the Metropolitan Gallery of Las Vegas Art Museum, located inside Neonopolis on Fremont Street.

The Collective is a collection of artwork created by Cirque’s performers, technicians and staff—another creative outlet for the ultra-creative — and for the first time in the program’s history, each participating employee was able to submit up to three works instead of one.

“Residents will have the opportunity to get to know their neighbors as we reveal another side of our employees through their artwork,” said Lou D’Angeli, vice president of marketing for Cirque du Soleil. “In hosting The Collective each year, we are able to shine the spotlight on their unique talents, creating an even greater connection between us and the community.”

The exhibition will also display Cirque-owned art pieces and props and costumes from various Strip productions. There will be a $5 entrance fee at the gallery.

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