The Commodore Inn sign stood above a building on Patterson Ave from the late 1930s until just recently when it was removed to make way for a new business.
The sign was given to me, Matt Ames of Philosophy INC, under the pretext that I would try to get it restored and find a new home for it somewhere in the city.
There are several reasons to do this:
Towards restoring the sign I’ve already enlisted the help of Jack Fralin, a sign painter who has painted just about every old sign downtown, from the Patrick Henry to the Coca Cola sign across from the Taubman. I also plan on starting a fundraiser once I have an idea about how much it will cost to fix the sign; it looks like at least $6000 to restore all the broken neon.
- The sign is already a landmark in Roanoke. Many people I’ve spoken with are very fond of the sign and interested in what happens to it.
- It is part of Roanoke’s visual history, seen by Roanokers for 70 years.
- Preserving our history is important, even the off-beat and pop culture aspects.
- Roanoke already has an established neon sanctuary downtown; it would be great to have an additional interesting neon design along with the Dr. Pepper, H& C CVoffee and even the Star.
- Last but not least a restored version of the sigh would look awesome downtown.
Once we get a firm idea of overall cost I’d like to start a fundraiser, get T-Shirts and stickers printed, start a Kickstarter account and bring the sign to PROject proJECT October 5th of this year.
I guess a few questions I have are: Is this something Downtown Roanoke INC is interested in? Would you all like to be partners in finding a home for the Commodore Inn sign?
I have a fairly successful track record in terms of local projects but I haven’t done anything like this before. Here are some of the things I’ve done in the past:
City Expo Roanoke: Created video and maps of Roanoke for Small Cities Expo Conference.
PROject proJECT: Organized a projection and light based art event held downtown Roanoke in June of 2011.
Taubman Museum of Art: Organized a show at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, VA in March of 2011.
City Planning: Worked with one of Roanoke’s city planners to present a history of Roanoke’s city plans in March of 2011.
Roanoke on the Road: Made a commercial for and documented Roanoke on the Road in New York City; an attempt to spread Roanoke arts and culture beyond Roanoke.
Roanoke videos: Documented many aspects of Roanoke’s civic and cultural life in the past several years including: the Blue Ridge Marathon, Marginal Arts Festival, local hiking trails and bicycle culture.
Campbell AV Project: Helped organize a community project where numerous people studied Campbell AV and reported their findings in Community High’s Liminal Gallery.
Kissito International: Created video for local international charity.
The bins I’m creating for the city:
So, I’ve been really engaged in the community and would like to make fixing the sign and finding a home for it another part of my community engagement. Hopefully we can find some way to work together.
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