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The Museum of Neon Art launches bright new online initiatives
Alleson Buchanan.

GLENDALE, CA.- The Museum of Neon Art may be dark to visitors during “Safer at Home”, but the persistent glow of curiosity, creativity, care, and community endures. MONA has created unique education initiatives that are accessible online. These include social media studio visits, family guides, and guided walks. Many of these offerings will be expanded upon further, over the next few months, but many can be enjoyed and accessed today by visiting MONA’s website. “Though this crisis puts the museum in financial strain, it also enables us to think deeply about our values. We believe in supporting our community, whether it is our talented and dedicated staff, our Glendale neighbors, or our global following. A museum is only as strong as the community it supports. The “Safer at Home” act has provided MONA the opportunity to show that museums are not just places to go to to wonder and learn, but they are also expansive hubs and resources. By moving outside of our gallery walls, MONA endeavors to meet our public where they are, as well as invite new audiences to think, wonder, create, and connect, even as we are separate. In the darkest times art can spark something inside that helps us to see a way through, ” says MONA Executive Director, Corrie Siegel.

Light Walks
With MONA as a guide, the whole city is a neon wonderland! MONA's Community Engagement and Program Coordinator Ani Mnatsakanyan, and Eric Lynxwiler, who is one of the hosts of our beloved Neon Cruises and a celebrated neon historian, will share a range of walking/running/ biking/driving tours throughout Los Angeles to shake off those quarantine jitters. Users of the guide can bask in lights that have illuminated the night through some of the darkest times, while enjoying the afterglow of some exercise. “It’s not a Neon Cruise — it’s a Neon Walk! Enjoy your city with a curated MONA tour of your neighborhood’s neon signs. Let’s walk neon!” says Lynxwiler.

MONA’s first Light Walk guide, “Glowing Glendale” highlights neighborhood hot spots from the brilliant glow of the Alex Theatre to the hazy view you'll get after a take-out tiki cocktail at Damon’s. The museum is also working to generate several neighborhood-based Light Walk neon guides determined by audience interest and need.Tours in the works include West Hollywood, East Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Siverlake.

Neon in Your Neighborhood: Family Guide
Though families can’t visit the museum right now, they can transform the world into their very own looking adventure. MONA has created a free downloadable guide for families so that their learning journey can continue even while the museum is closed. With the guide, families can explore their local neighborhood or the world-wide-web to marvel at neon signs. The guide provides numerous entry points for families to learn about the science and history of neon and create their own artworks. In this 26 page printable family guide readers can add to signs that were illustrated by MONA’s talented staff members Jess Krichelle Rojas and Ashley Sanchez, by coloring them in or drawing new details. “Neon in Your Neighborhood is a family guide which can be used by parents and children to learn science, language arts, and history in an engaging and immersive way. We see object based exploration and teaching as a crucial tool that MONA can provide to combat screen fatigue when most teaching is conducted online. We hope that this resource will energize learning and curiosity for families,” says Executive Director Corrie Siegel.

Studio Tours in the Comfort of Your Home
Neon artists across the world will be taking over MONA's Instagram stories for the coming months. Artists from Canada to Australia have agreed to allow MONA followers into their practice. Over the course of one day a neon artist will show Instagram viewers a peek into their creative process. Visitors to MONA’s Instagram (@museumofneonart) on April 4 got the chance to see Dani Bonnet make a glowing neon face mask from start to finish. On Saturday, April 11 Alleson Buchanan offered a virtual tour of her studio and created crimson waves. Tayler Drattlo took to the studio on Saturday, April 18th to create a glowing sunset. The stories they posted are archived in the museum’s Instagram story highlights. Collaborations with Eric Franklin, Leticia Maldonado and many more are to follow. “For the first time our followers can see everyday working artists and tube benders in their studios bringing neon to life––all in the palm of their hand. Our Instagram Takeovers have given us a unique opportunity to showcase the diversity of our community and their passion for their craft. By doing this we hope to encourage our followers to learn more about neon and to inspire a new generation of tube benders to come,” says MONA’s Assistant Lab Manager, Jess Krichelle Rojas.

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