On May 20th, ArtPlace America announced awarding a $200,000 grant to the American Sign Museum for our CoSign project. CoSign was among 54 projects chosen from more than 1,200 applications as an ‘exceptional example of creative placemaking.’
CoSign is the brainchild of our own Tod Swormstedt, museum founder, and Eric Avner, Senior Program Manager for Community Development of the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. / U.S. Bank Foundation, known more simply as the Haile Foundation. Last year, with funding from the Haile Foundation, they piloted their vision of bringing together artists, fabricators, and small businesses from the Northside community of Cincinnati. Their goal was to educate participants on the value and components of good signage and to actually create new signage for several businesses within the community. The project was a great success, with eleven new signs unveiled on Black Friday. Read about the CoSign pilot project here.
In the months following last year’s project, Avner has presented the CoSign project to audiences across the country. Part of this next round will include developing a toolkit for others to use in implementing similar projects in their own communities.
The ArtPlace funding, along with an additional $150,000 from the Haile foundation will give us the opportunity to expand on last year’s CoSign pilot project. We have already begun bringing together the CoSign team and plan to follow a schedule similar to last year’s pilot for the next round of signs in Northside. The goal will again be to unveil the new signs on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Plans are also in the works for working with another neighborhood – most likely Covington, KY, just across the river.
“This is really exciting news”, said Avner, “it gives our work a national profile, and it will enable the Sign Museum to roll out CoSign two more times (at least) and to create a toolkit to help other communities (locally or nationally) to replicate it.”
Be sure to watch for updates on our website in the months to come.