A group shot at the Las Vegas sign. December 31, 2015.
They came by foot, car and limo. Except for a few brave women debuting dazzling short New Years Eve gowns in the cold air, or the sighting of mostly sober men risking dignity by wearing large "2016" sunglasses and hats, the final afternoon of 2015 was another day in the ongoing pilgrimage to the "Welcome to [Fabulous] Las Vegas Sign".
The popular site had a benchmark moment this year. In April Betty Willis, the designer of the sign, passed away at the age of 91. It would be proper to see a statue of Willis, facing the sign and the Strip, at the exit of the parking lot craved out of the median. I don’t see funding happening for that anytime soon. But how hard would it be to name this gateway as Betty Willis Park? The cultural icon, a sign sometimes interpreted as roadside sculpture, should be paired with Willis, the sign designer with a neon portfolio that shaped the look of Las Vegas.
In 2009, the Las Vegas sign was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Limo entering the center median parking lot at the Las Vegas sign.
Above: Krystal Ramirez “I Want to See More Brown Bodies” from 2017 will be reassembled at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art in Spring 2018.