Businesses in six communities will sport custom-designed signs, thanks to a project developed by the American Sign Museum in collaboration with the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation.
Called CoSign, the program matches business owners with artists and professional sign fabricators to create signage in designated business districts.
Each community is in the midst of plans for the project and will participate in a workshop Feb. 19-21 at the museum in Cincinnati. The cities are Alachua, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Evanston, Illinois; West Des Moines, Iowa; Iowa City, Iowa; and Chicago, Illinois.
The six- to seven-month CoSign process will begin in earnest in March and will culminate in the unveiling of 10 to 12 signs in each community in the fall.
Tod Swormstedt, executive director of the museum, said the project “demonstrates the true value of cross-pollination between the arts, small business and the sign industry.”
CoSign began as a pilot project in Cincinnati’s Northside business district in 2012. It was awarded an ArtPlace grant in 2013, which enabled additional work in Northside in 2013 and expansion to Covington in 2014. The Covington project received additional support through an Our Town grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.
Cate Becker of BLDG Refuge will serve as project director for the national implementation. She is the former cultural arts director for the City of Covington and oversaw the CoSign project there. In that role, she connected artists and designers to the project, served as a liaison with government officials and organized the 10th anniversary of Art Off Pike, the urban arts festival at which the project signs were unveiled.