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New Signs for Northside Businesses Part of Program Coming to Covington in 2014

Black Friday drew dozens of spectators to Hamilton Avenue in Cincinnati's Northside neighborhood for the unveiling of nine new signs for locally-owned businesses.

For the second straight year, small businesses in the neighborhood can boast of more prominent and creative signage on their storefronts as the CoSign project continued its efforts. CoSign, a collaboration between the American Sign Museum and the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, was awarded $200,000 in grant money from ArtPlace America on May 20. The program is the brainchild of Todd Swormstedt, founder of the American Sign Museum, and Eric Avner, senior program manager for community development at the US Bank/Haile Foundation.

Small businesses apply to be part of the program and if chosen, are matched with artists who create new sign designs for the business. That shop then chooses its favorite and the sign is placed on the storefront.

The program will come to Covington in 2014 and the City was awarded a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts OurTown grant for its CoSign project that is expected to include ten businesses.

In Northside, with nine new signs unveiled, twenty businesses in all have received new signage through the CoSign project. On Friday, Tantrum, Sidewinder Coffee, Hazel Glas, ArtWorks Garage, The Listing Loon, Spun Bicycles, Northside Grange Pet and Urban Farm Supply, Awesome Time Shoe and Leather Repair, and Barrio Tequileria were given the CoSign treatment. The new signs were covered in black plastic until revealed by the respective shop's owner who was hoisted above the large crowd below. Enthusiastic applause followed each unveiling with a new one come every fifteen minutes as participants walked the length of Hamilton Avenue to each new sign.

For many of these businesses, the signage had previously been flat against or painted on the front of the building. The goal of the new signs is to gain more attention from passing drivers and pedestrians.

Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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