Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Veteran Sign Painters Lend Their Talent to the Cause

So, we built the storefronts, and we're installing our signs from yesteryear, but something was missing on Main Street. You know, those details that would bring a streetscape to life. One phone call to friends David and Suzie Butler, and they were on it. Now, as I'm writing this, a team of 27 veteran sign painters - most of them longtime friends - from across the U.S. and Canada are here for the week and busy filling in the blank spaces that will make all the difference in your Signs on Main Street Experience.

Project leaders each took on a particular storefront or wall and had their designs ready when they arrived so they could hit the ground running Monday morning. But anticipation was high, and most went straight to the museum from the airport on Saturday! And everyone was on hand to get started first thing Sunday!

For our Facebook fans, here an image of the Dulaney's storefront design.

Watching them work is a truly a sight to behold, and as soon as we have some breathing room, we plan to post more info and images for all to see. Here are just a few images to show the breadth of talent (we're estimating the team represents about 1,000 YEARS experience) these folks bring. And this is just 3 days' worth! Much more to come!



Again, this is just a sampling of the last few days, with much more to come. Hope to see you when we open in June!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Home Update

More old friends are arriving at the new site every day
It's been two months since we've begun moving in earnest. Life hasn't exactly been on hold, and given the small crew and rig we've been working with, we've made incredible progress. THANK YOU ALBERTO AND OSCAR! We now have EVERYTHING out of the formal museum space and are moving the signs from the sign garden. More old friends are arriving at the new site every day! The goal right now is to get everything completely out of the Essex Studios space; getting everything installed in the new space is another matter...

Alberto and Oscar bring the Bernie's sign into place

Sean Druley ponders ROHS Hardware

Meanwhile, craftsman Sean Druley is putting the finishing touches on the Main Street storefronts before beginning work on the lobby area.

He has completed the facades, and is now working on cabinets for the storefront windows that will hold smaller displays.

And one by one, signs are being installed and lit.

We're really excited to have a team of veteran sign painters coming the week of March 19th to 'authenticate' the walls and storefronts as only they can do. Here are some mockups of what they have in mind. With their plans for storefront windows and ghost signs on the brick walls, Main Street will really come to life!

We've sent 100+ inscriptions to the vendor for our engraved pavers that will be installed in the walkway leading up to the museum entrance as soon as we're sure of the weather. If you haven't gotten your paver yet, there's still room. Learn more and purchase a paver at our website.

Given the extensive work still to be done and scheduling conflicts, we are now planning a June Grand Opening. Details to follow...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bringing Artists, Signmakers, and Business Owners Together

Late last year, we began talking with community leaders about a possible grant that would fund bringing together local sign fabricators, artists, and businesses to help design and install signage in three Cincinnati area neighborhoods undergoing various stages of rebirth. Our proposal was one of 127 selected from among 2,200 applicants. We've submitted the full application and are now awaiting a decision, due later this year. This is what the American Sign Museum is all about! Below is the document prepared for a press release. Keep your fingers crossed!

The Creative Intersection of
Artist, Signmaker, and Neighborhood Business

The American Sign Museum is applying for a grant from ArtPlace ( to fund the CoSign initiative. CoSign will enhance economic activity in three artistic Greater Cincinnati neighborhood business districts by pairing artists, small businesses, and professional sign fabricators to design and install unique handcrafted signage for local retailers; and in the process, create an infrastructure to train the next generation of local signmakers.

Description of the Work
Over-the-Rhine revitalization at work
CoSign will design and install a critical mass of new business signage in three active business districts in communities experiencing significant redevelopment and reinvestment - Over-the-Rhine and Northside in Cincinnati, and Covington, KY.
The signage will be created by a unique partnership of a visual artist, a small business owner, and a professional sign fabricator, all coordinated through the leadership and expertise of the American Sign Museum.
The year-long project will commence with a two-day public workshop. Day 1 will educate business owners and artists on the economic value of signage and permitting requirements. Day 2 will feature presentations by noted sign designers and demonstrations of fabrication and installation techniques. Following the workshop, a screening process will match small businesses with visual artists and sign professionals. The artists will meet with the business owners to collaborate on designs that meets the business' needs. The artists will then partner with sign companies to fabricate and install the signage. In some cases an existing historic sign may be restored. The cost of each sign will be split between the business owner and the ArtPlace grant funds. In addition to providing program oversight, the American Sign Museum staff, exhibits, and library will serve as a resource for sign history research and design inspiration. The Museum will also provide a venue for seminars, meetings, and fabrication workspace as its location is less than three miles from the three business districts.
CoSign builds on three neighborhoods' embrace of arts-oriented development, local identities, and local businesses. Over-the-Rhine hosts storied and emerging arts institutions, 3CDC has renewed neighborhood commercial corridors, and the ArtPlace-funded SpringBoard artisan entrepreneurship program in is full operation. In 2010, the Northside Business Association voted to make chain stores a conditional use in their business district to retain its unique local character. The City of Covington, Kentucky, offers a robust package of arts district incentives and in 2007 opened their Artisan Enterprise Center. Lead organizations in each neighborhood will be full partners in this proposal.

Anticipated Impact
The impact of this program will be fourfold: (1) Three business districts will strengthen their respective identities and increase their economic activity with the immediate visual impact resulting from new signage for local businesses; (2) As the appreciation for high-quality handcrafted signage increases, local artists will be trained to become the next generation of local signmakers; (3) The American Sign Museum will leverage its history and expertise to benefit its community directly and economically; and (4) After a pilot phase, this program will be replicated in other neighborhoods and other regions.

Project Status
The CoSign proposal was selected as one of 127 finalists from among 2,200 applicants. A full application was submitted to ArtPlace on February 15, 2012. If the grant is awarded, the initial year-long project will take place between the fall of 2012 and fall of 2013.