Today we feature John Notabartolo our 8th #WhyIGiveTNMLV profile. When asked why he gives, John said "Neon is where our art lives..."
Q & A with John Notabartolo, The Neon Museum Member
Pictured here with his wife, LeAnne.
Q: When/how did you get involved with The Neon Museum?
A: Our family moved to Las Vegas in 1998. We loved seeing neon signs as public art, like the El Rancho Motel and Aladdin lamp. The large and highly noticeable signs immersed us in the history of the city. We were excited when we heard the original La Concha Motel lobby would be used at the site of the new museum. Over the years, it’s been great seeing the museum materialize, from what started as a small collection to now being a major cultural attraction.
Q: What attracted you to the museum?
A: We have a deep love for Las Vegas. We share in The Neon Museum’s mission of preserving this city’s history.
Q: Why do you give to The Neon Museum? What motivates you to stay involved?
A: Neon is inseparable from Las Vegas. Neon is where our art lives. We believe in rescuing and restoring signs, and retelling their stories to the public.
Q: Do you have an anecdote about the museum you would like to share?
A: Several years ago we had a family photo shoot in the Neon Boneyard. At the time, the letters of the Moulin Rouge sign were reconfigured to spell out “in love.” We were lucky to catch this in our photo shoot because a week or two later the letters were rearranged to what you see today.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important work that The Neon Museum does?
A: I think there’s a synergy here. A synergy between education and preservation. Teaching the story of our artistic past goes hand in hand with advocating for sign preservation.
Q: What do you hope the organization will achieve over the next ten years?
A: I hope the museum can grow its permanent collection and display more beautiful pieces in the Boneyard. I also support The Neon Museum’s event offerings, where you can rent the space for a wedding or private party. Thirdly, I would like to see membership grow – because it is members that support institutions, year after year.
The Neon Museum has such a great vibe, being located in downtown Las Vegas. I would like to see more opportunities to mingle with like-minded history lovers and museum supporters.
Q: Who do you think would enjoy a visit to The Neon Museum?
A: I have a hard time thinking of anyone that wouldn’t enjoy a visit to the museum, especially during Golden Hour as the lights turn on. One of my former mentees is a serious Tim Burton fan, so he was ecstatic to attend that exhibit with me. I try to introduce people to the museum when I can and am keen to see special exhibits, or more visiting artists in the future.
Q: What’s your favorite sign and why?
A: There is one sign that stands above the rest – the Hard Rock. We moved to Las Vegas around the same time that the hotel opened. Hard Rock’s Center Bar was the place to "see and be seen." Musicians, professional athletes, and Hollywood celebrities all hung out there. I remember watching Brian Setzer and his jazz orchestra perform there. We knew we simply had to be a part of its sign restoration.
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