“Lighting Up Las Vegas: YESCO Marks a Glittering Century” Opens February 3, 2022

Featured Photo: Courtesy of Las Vegas Convention And Visitors Authority_Fremont Street 1954

January 19, 2022—LAS VEGAS, NV–As part of the ongoing Nevada Humanities Exhibition Series, a new exhibition, Lighting Up Las Vegas: YESCO Marks a Glittering Century, opens at the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery on February 3, 2022, and will be on display as a virtual exhibition indefinitely at nevadahumanities.org. Las Vegas and neon are synonymous with each other. This exhibition features historic photographs, images of neon signs, and sign designs with information about the people and places that share this vibrant history.

Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), founded in 1920, has played a significant role in creating Las Vegas’ reputation as a city of neon. From its early use of neon on Fremont Street in the 1930s, to the Strip “spectaculars” of the 1950s and 1960s, to the cutting-edge technologies of today, YESCO has helped mold the image of Las Vegas as it is understood around the world. Its iconic signs have come to be recognized as works of art and their significance transcends their function as mere advertisements.

In celebration of YESCO’s 100th anniversary in 2020, this exhibition is curated jointly by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s (LVCVA) Las Vegas News Bureau Archive and The Neon Museum and examines the history and impact of YESCO on Las Vegas. The exhibition follows the intertwined stories of the company, the city, the technology, and the men and women who made it all possible. While this display was slated to open in 2020 to mark YESCO’s centennial, it was delayed due to the COVID pandemic. We are now thrilled to bring this exhibit to the public in 2022 on the 102nd anniversary of YESCO.

The exhibition will be open to the public for viewing by appointment only at the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery, 1017 South 1st Street, #190, Las Vegas, Nevada; in-person viewing of this exhibit will close on March 23, 2022An in-person reception will take place at the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 9 from 5 to 8 pm with monitored entry to accommodate social distancing. An exhibition discussion featuring Kelli Luchas, Archivist for the LVCVA, with Randy Cheung and Emily Feller from the Neon Museum, will be held outdoors in the Art Square Garden courtyard at 6 pm and simultaneously broadcast on Facebook Live. Space is limited and masks will be required regardless of vaccination status.

“Since 1920, the work of YESCO’s talented electricians, engineers, glass artists, and designers has set the stage for Las Vegas as an iconic playground like no other,” said Christina Barr, Nevada Humanities Executive Director. “We are honored to share this history and heritage with the public and help celebrate this important milestone for Nevada.”

“We are honored to be featured in this exhibition celebrating YESCO’s more than 100 years in the sign business,” said Jeff Young, senior vice president of YESCO. “It’s gratifying to know how much history we have in Las Vegas, and we are happy to know our work will be viewed by visitors for years to come.”

Lighting Up Las Vegas: YESCO Marks a Glittering Century will be on display at the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery until March 23, 2022, and may be viewed by appointment Tuesdays through Thursdays from 1 to 4 pm and until 9 pm the first Friday of the month for First Friday events. Masks are required and numbers are limited to accommodate social distancing. Contact Bobbie Ann Howell at bahowell@nevadahumanities.org or call 702.800.4670 to make an in-person appointment to view Lighting Up Las Vegas: YESCO Marks a Glittering Century.

About Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO). YESCO specializes in the manufacture of custom electric signs, sign maintenance and out-of-home advertising. In addition, YESCO operates sign and lighting service repair stores throughout North America as well as a sign financing business. Thomas Young founded the company in Ogden, Utah, in 1920 after borrowing $300 from his father. YESCO began by offering wall painted advertisements, gold-leaf window lettering and coffin plates. Today, helmed by the second, third and fourth generations of the founder’s family, YESCO creates, services and maintains award-winning displays for some of the most prestigious brands. For more information about YESCO, visit YESCO.com.

About the Las Vegas News Bureau: For nearly 75 years, the Las Vegas News Bureau has captured the sights and sounds of Las Vegas. The News Bureau was originally a part of the marketing efforts of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, but it has been a division of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) for nearly 30 years. It has played a unique role in promoting Las Vegas by documenting unforgettable images. Today, the collection consists of more than 7 million images, 11,000 pieces of film and video, and 1,400 linear feet of manuscripts and artifacts. It continues to play an important role in marketing Las Vegas as a premier destination for business and leisure travel.  The Bureau’s active preservation program safeguards this rich and living archive of Las Vegas history for future generations.

About the Neon Museum: The Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts, and cultural enrichment. Its two-acre campus includes an outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard. The museum collection also includes several restored signs installed as public art throughout downtown Las Vegas. Both the Neon Boneyard and museum’s La Concha Visitors’ Center are located at 770 Las Vegas Blvd. North, in Las Vegas.

About Nevada Humanities: Nevada Humanities is one of 56 independent, nonprofit state and territorial humanities councils affiliated with the National Endowment for the Humanities. With offices in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada Humanities creates public programs and supports public projects statewide that define the Nevada experience and facilitate the exploration of issues that matter to the people of Nevada and their communities. For more information about Nevada Humanities visit nevadahumanities.org.

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