The West Hollywood Virginia Court Motel Diver neon art installation, also known to most as the WeHo Neon Diver, is going away for repairs in the spring months. According to an Instagram post by WeHo Arts, the diver bids farewell to Route 66 and will no longer be seen on Santa Monica Boulevard where it has been on display for the past five years. The diver will be under the care of RLA Conservation of Art and Architecture an art restoration service based out of Los Angeles (they also have a location in Miami), before moving to its permanent home at the new West Hollywood Park Aquatic Center.
“Do not be alarmed by the absence of our beloved Virginia Court Motel Diver as it will be taken to @rlaconservation where it will be refreshed for its final installation at the entrance to the new West Hollywood Park Aquatic Center,” reads a WeHo Arts Instagram post. “We bid the Diver—a mainstay in the West Hollywood Urban Art Collection—a temporary farewell and cannot wait to see you in the new park in the fall!”
The Virginia Court Motel Diver is a replica of a sign that was originally built in 1950 for the Virginia Court Motel in Meridian, Mississippi. The owner of the motel, Ike J. Davis, named the property after his daughter. In 2000, the motel was demolished, and the original sign was rescued by Mike Gambone. In 2002, the Diver was shipped to Mark “The Neon Man” Jamison in Virginia for restoration and display. In 2006 the Diver was restored again by Flexflume Sign Company. And, then finally in 2008, the diver was loaned to the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, CA for display at their temporary location in Downtown Los Angeles.
The West Hollywood sign is a reproduction of the original sign, fabricated by Federal Heath, and was included in the City’s on route – 66 lights exhibition on Santa Monica Boulevard in 2010 in collaboration with the Museum of Neon Art. The neon sign is a part of the City’s Urban Art Collection and is installed outside of the entrance to the Aquatic Center at West Hollywood Park.
That sign is owned by West Hollywood. After being in storage for several years, the sign was temporarily installed in 2015 next to the West Hollywood Pool.
In 2014, a second replica of the Neon Diver was built for MONA and installed on the roof of the museum in Glendale
The history of the Neon Diver exhibition throughout the city of West Hollywood is as follows:
2010 on route 66 exhibition on Santa Monica Boulevard
2015 647 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood Park
2016-2021 8400 block of Santa Monica Boulevard
2021 West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center
To learn more about WeHo Arts, click here.