Sep 14, 2019 11:55PM
● By Debbie Hall
Back in the day, the iconic Blue Angel statue perched high over Fremont Street and Charleston Boulevard to welcome locals and travelers. Now, a chorus of blue angels watches over downtown Las Vegas as the Phalanx of Angels Ascending. Native Nevadan and artist James Stanford designed and painted the mural in collaboration with street artist Cliff Morris.
“I was raised a couple of blocks from the motel and we miss her,” says Stanford. “It was the brightest spot in those days. She was not judgmental but was always there with her beautiful smile. I love that about her.”
For over 60 years, from 1957 to 2017, the 16-foot-tall statue, designed by Betty Willis (creator of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign), stood over the Blue Angel Motel. The property was demolished in 2015 and the statue was removed in 2017 with plans to restore and install it in its original setting.
Stanford wanted to capture the essence that Las Vegas embodies a playful attitude without becoming insipid. The multitude of blue angels embraces the valley with the same loving message for all who view them.