This September, we welcomed back master storytellers Liz Mangual and Bob Kanegis of Story Connection for the fourth year of My Las Vegas.
My Las Vegas is an outreach program for Title I schools. Over the course of the week-long program, Liz and Bob educated and entertained approximately 1,700 students at Sandy Miller, Manuel J. Cortez and Ruben P. Diaz elementary schools. Through participatory storytelling, the students learned about The Neon Museum’s collection and the important role stories and museums play in preserving community memories.
The bilingual program included an accompanying STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) lesson plan and papel picado art project based on the Flamingo Hotel sign. The stunning design of the sign was created by artist Raul Rodriguez in 1976 and is still used by the hotel. Retired sections of the sign are on display at The Neon Museum.
The program consisted of four to five special assemblies at each school divided by grade level. Liz and Bob explained the Museum’s mission and how signs and other objects can tell stories. Students heard folktales inspired by the Museum’s signs that centered around the Museum’s motto of "Reclaim. Restore. Remember."
This year’s program incorporated the “Mobile Boneyard,” a selection of large cut-out versions of some of the Museum’s most popular signs and a new portable neon piece created by Hartlauer Signs. In addition to the famous Flamingo, students learned about the lesser-known “Happy Shirt,” the character on the Steiner Cleaners sign created by the owner’s young daughter in the 1960s.
Students also have the opportunity to follow up on their experience with a visit to The Neon Museum. Fourth graders from each school were invited for a free field trip and tour of the Neon Boneyard in the Spring.
Since 2016, My Las Vegas has served approximately 6,875 students at 12 different Clark County schools. Thank you to our sponsors Nevada Humanities and NV Energy for supporting the program and providing young learners in Clark County a unique experience with art, history and storytelling! We'd also like to thank our partner schools and the CCSD School-Community Partnership Program for the tremendous work they do each day.