Thursday, November 21, 2013

Happy Ho

Scottie Campbell, the Executive Director of Ivanhoe Village, tipped me off about the restoration of a neon sign which has been out of commission for twenty years. On November 7th, I went to the Historic Ivanhoe Building (1111 North Orange Ave. Orlando FL) to see the installation of a neon sign for the Holidays. These neon letters were restored this year by AC Signs. Tom Connery of the City of Orlando arranged for the restoration.

The Ivanhoe Building is where the ballet's offices are housed but it was recently vacated because of mold problems. I noticed one dancer walking down the sidewalk, so maybe the mold issue has been resolved.

As I sketched, more letters arrived by truck. The black crane was used to lift the letters up to the roof. A spotter stood in the grass holding two ropes to keep the letter from spinning in the breeze. The last few feet were the most difficult. If the neon hit the roof's edge too hard, it could break thus destroying all the restoration work.

A woman got off at the bus stop behind me. She shouted into her cell phone, "I hate you, I absolutely hate you!" I guess someone was going to pick her up, but they didn't. She was having a bad day. The workmen came off the roof for a break and they looked over my shoulder as I worked. The neon in each of the signs letters was tested one at a time. Everything seemed to work.

Mark Your Calendar!   November 22nd at 6PM, at the Historic Ivanhoe Building (1111 North Orange Ave. Orlando FL),  Mayor Buddy Dyer will throw the switch re-lighting the Happy Holidays/Happy New Year neon sign on top of the the historic Ivanhoe building. It will be the first time the sign has been lit in two decades!A reception will follow at The Hammered Lamb (1235 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL.)

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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