Happy 40th to SoCal's Most Luminous Museum

The Museum of Neon Art will celebrate, belatedly, with a free evening of talks, cake, and other glowings-on.

Isabel Pavia

What to Know

  • Museum of Neon Art in Glendale
  • "40 Years of Light" will take place on Friday, March 11 from 5 to 8 p.m.; it is free to attend, but RSVPing is "strongly encouraged"
  • Cake, artist talks, and the soft launch of the outdoor Sign Garden

If you're a devotee of neon signs, those eye-catching roadside wonders that often depict swimming pools, funny foodstuffs, adorable animals, and company logos via a shimmering swoosh of light, you may have pondered how long neon lasts.

The gaseous tubes within a sign may last for several years, while the sign that houses the tubes can stand for far longer, even if it falls partly or totally dark as the decades proceed.

But there's a different version of this question, one that pertains specifically to a venue in Glendale, and it goes like this: How long does a museum devoted to neon last?

That answer is as clear as a motel's sign glow, the kind of glow you might see down a freeway at midnight, or the bright "WELCOME" that sits over the door to your favorite vintage restaurant: It's 40 years.

Actually, make that 41 and counting, for the Museum of Neon Art, which was founded in 1981, delayed its 40th-anniversary celebration, which would have taken place in 2021, due to pandemic considerations.

But the time has come for the party to glow, er, go forth, and it shall, on the evening of March 11, 2022.

The atmospheric evening will "... give thanks to those whose generosity and curiosity buoyed the museum through the darkest period of the pandemic lockdown," says the museum, while also shining a light on the outdoor Sign Garden, which will enjoy its soft launch during the event.

Guests will also be able to stroll through the "40 Years of Light" exhibition, and enjoy a series of five-minute talks given by a host of neon-knowing pros.

A ceremony, which will certainly be full of incandescent emotion, as milestone moments often are, will also add "buzz" to the bash, as will cake.

Because a big 40th anniversary needs cake, pretty much everyone would agree. And how often has a neon sign led a peckish person to a great place that serves cake?

You get us: Cake, eaten by the light of neon, just tastes better.

And something that's as sweet as cake? Attending the celebration is free, but you'll want to RSVP.

But before we glow away, we must pause here to wish a whimsical, mysterious, and uplifting institution another fabulous 40 years.

Which prompts us to again ponder which lasts longer: A traditional neon tube or an acclaimed museum devoted to an ethereal and illuminated art form?

Certainly, in the hearts of its many fans, the Museum of Neon Art is a luminous location, in every sense of the wonderful word, and will last a long, long time to come.

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