Time capsules can present themselves in many forms, but in Southern California, you can see the past in the glow of vintage neon signs from around the area. The Museum of Neon Art (MONA) is literally keeping the lights on the past of long-gone restaurants, pharmacies, bars, businesses and hotels. Kacie Lees, a neon artist says, "I like to think about these signs as time capsules to the moment they were made. It's an artist working with flame and glass in that specific moment." To put the concept in perspective, Lee adds, "That gas was in there when the sign was made and it stays that way for 75 years."
MONA is not only exhibition space for these neon time capsules, but also an educational melting pot where artists can learn the complex art of sign making and glass blowing. Localish.com visited MONA and observed artists at work preserving this colorful artform.
MONA's website notes that for over 40 years, it's "the only museum in the world devoted exclusively to art in electric media, exhibiting fine art, as well as outstanding examples of historic neon signs." Executive Director Corrie Siegel says, "We preserve history of Southern California, so we have signs from the 1920s to present day."
The museum even takes things on the road offering double-decker bus and walking tours of Los Angeles neighborhoods known for their rich architectural history and vintage neon signage. Can't make it to the museum? You can check out their website at www.neonmona.org to see exhibits online or download a free printable neon guide to use exploring your neighborhood's neon time capsules.