American Sign Museum one of 104 Finalists for Creative Placemaking Grants

22 January

(Chicago, IL, January 15, 2013) One hundred four applicants in 72 communities in 33 states and the District of Columbia have been named finalists for grants from ArtPlace, an initiative to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. through grants and loans, research, communication and advocacy. ArtPlace is a collaboration of 13 leading national and regional foundations and six of the nation’s largest banks. ArtPlace also seeks advice and counsel from close working relationships with various federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education, and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council.

The selected applicants represent the best of the 1,225 letters of inquiry from across the country. Inquiries came from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa.

Finalists were chosen for their potential to transform communities through placing art and culture at the heart of portfolios of integrated strategies that drive vibrancy and diversity. Story:

The American Sign Museum, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, submitted the CoSign concept for the ArtPlace grant (, after last year learning that ArtPlace considered it an intriguing concept that should be submitted again. Though the ASM did not receive the ArtPlace grant in 2012, the Haile Foundation stepped up to support a pilot CoSign project that created a new world of signage and opportunity for one community. Creative placemaking has been gaining traction as a locally-driven strategy for bringing new life to communities.


Photo Credit: Alias Imaging /

CoSign designed and installed a critical mass of new business signage in a district experiencing significant redevelopment and reinvestment – Northside – a Greater Cincinnati neighborhood business district.  The campaign was coordinated through the leadership and expertise of the American Sign Museum. The new new business signage was unveiled in a public ceremony on Black Friday in 2012, kicking off an historic shopping season on November 23rd. The result of the CoSign project in its debut year enhanced economic activity 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. Story:  CoSign Project Big Finish

The American Sign Museum seeks the ArtPlace grant to fund an expanded CoSign initiative. As a finalist for the ArtPlace Grant, weight is given to the fact that the impact of this program will be fourfold: (1) 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.


Photo Credit: Alias Imaging /

The CoSign project commences with a two public workshops to educate business owners and artists on the economic value of signage and permitting requirements, as well as giving examples of effective and ineffective signage. Following the workshops, artist submit designs for participating businesses and a screening process matches small businesses with visual artists and sign professionals. After a process of design refinement, the winning designs are selected by a jury and then to fabrication and installation. The cost of each sign is split between the business owner and the CoSign funds. In addition to providing program oversight, the American Sign Museum staff, exhibits, and library serves as a resource for sign history research and design inspiration. The Museum provides a venue for seminars, meetings, and fabrication workspace as its location is close to the targeted business districts.

Project Status

This year’s grant recipients will be announced in May. To date, ArtPlace has distributed $26.9 million to 76 organizations in 46 communities across the country.

For more about the American Sign Museum, visit For more information on ArtPlace please visit

0 Responses to "American Sign Museum one of 104 Finalists for Creative Placemaking Grants"

  1. CoSign II! says:

    […] to continuing what we started with another round in 2013. We are currently in the running for a grant through ArtPlace, an organization supporting exactly this kind of project. Keep your fingers […]

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