About the time the community was in an uproar over the fate of the iconic Blue Angel statue perched above the fenced-in Blue Angel Motel on Fremont Street, artist Gina Quaranto came up with an idea to ensure that those in love with the 14-foot winged statue could have a piece of it for their Christmas trees.
She studied myriad photographs to get the measurements of the Betty Willis-designed, chesty blonde, found a company overseas to fabricate ornaments (instead of the planned tree-toppers) and ordered 500 of the miniature sculptures to sell through her Blackbird Studios.
Inspired by the effort, Todd VonBastiaans and Bryan McCarthy commissioned Blackbird to create an 8-foot Blue Angel sculpture to go with their large-scale vintage nativity scene. On Monday, the sculpture, created mostly by lead sculptor Ali Fathollahi, was installed on their rooftop, strategically lit. And the cars began pulling over.
“We live in a 1955 neighborhood,” VonBastiaans said, looking at the angel holding her scepter against the towering background of the Stratosphere. “We wanted to do a Las Vegas Christmas. I thought, wouldn’t that be great if she’d be the angel for our nativity.”
Just then, Quaranto showed up at the residence in Glen Heather Estates for a look at what she’d started. “It looks better up there than I’d ever imagined,” she said. “I’m happy we get to enjoy seeing her looking down and watching out for all of us.”
More: Blackbird Studios