The Nicolaysen Art Museum (Courtesy Visit Casper, Nicolaysen Art Museum)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Nicolaysen Art Museum will be aglow as it celebrates the centennial of the first neon sign imported into America during its annual gala and auction.

According to a release, the “Neon at the NIC” fundraising dinner and auction gala event is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 8 at the museum. A free public reception for the group exhibit, titled “Neon in the High Desert,” is scheduled for Sept. 23. Both events celebrate the neon sign and its cultural impact on America and society.

“The theme ‘Neon at The NIC’ harkens back to a time when neon signs first graced American cities, sparking fascination and wonder,” the release said. “The museum invites attendees to step back in time and imagine the excitement of being among the first to witness the distinctive red glow of electricity flowing through glass tubes filled with the noble gas, Neon.”

The celebration of the electric neon sign connects with the NIC’s history in a deeper sense, since the museum is housed inside the historic Casper Electric Light Company’s original power plant, which was built in 1923.

The gala will include dinner, live music, dance entertainment, and a live and silent auction featuring art from local, statewide and national artists, the museum said. Awards and presentations about the museum and neon signs in America will also be featured.

The “Neon in the High Desert” exhibit will feature contemporary neon and artwork from artists in the U.S. and Canada, including Casper’s own Connie Morgan and Texas’s Tayler Drattlo. “This exhibition will provide members and visitors with an immersive experience into the world of neon lights and its profound impact on art and society,” the museum said.

“Neon at the NIC” takes place on Friday, Sept. 8 starting at 6 p.m. Attendance is ticketed and open to all members of the community and art enthusiasts. Tickets start at $100, and sponsorships are available. For tickets and sponsorship information, visit the NIC’s website here or call 307-235-5247.