Nonprofit to revitalize historic neon signs in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Multiple organizations were awarded grants by Visit Albuquerque to come up with projects to increase tourism in the metro.

Now, one nonprofit is working on bringing new life to some of Albuquerque’s neglected yet iconic signs.

Back in the day Route 66 and Albuquerque were known for their neon signs – each one was unique with their bright colors lighting up Central Avenue. 

“The signs are the way you interact with this city when you are driving. ‘Cause it’s right there, it’s your road side landscape,” said Ellen Babcock, founding director of Friends of the Orphan Signs.

Many of the iconic signs have fallen into disrepair – that’s where the Friends of the Orphan Signs come in.

“We were awarded $25,000 for a project called ‘Signal and Turn,’” said Lindsey Fromm, a project director for Friends of the Orphan Signs.

Their goal for this project is to revitalize five signs across town in two phases.

“The first year we would like to revitalize them and put some kind of marker on the sign that leads people to a website,” said Fromm. 

Online, folks can learn about the history and things to do in the neighborhood that the sign is in. Plus, people can submit ideas and art to be put in the sign for future tourists to see.

“That final artwork that is created in the second phase of this project will be installed semi-permanently” said Fromm. 

They are actively looking for signs to revamp, and they are looking all across town not just down Route 66.