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Atlanta to Benefit from Local Sign Artists

Date: June 24, 2003



Professional sign painters from across the country will converge on Atlanta, Ill., July 11-13 to revive and preserve the nearly lost art of outdoor advertising, while helping this Illinois community restore its connections with historic Route 66.


"Traveling 66 once meant stopping at a local cafe for the blue plate special, filling up with regular at the Standard station, then bedding down in a motel that might resemble anything from a wigwam to a pink stuccoed palace," organizers of the upcoming event noted in a news release. "It also meant motoring by scores of brightly painted advertisements on the sides of brick buildings dotting Illinois' mother road. Now faded, but not forgotten, these Rt. 66 'Ghost Signs' are the focus of efforts to revive the quarter-mile stretch of Old Rt. 66 that passes through the middle of downtown Atlanta.


Enter the LetterHeads, a group of professional sign painters, who meet during the summer for long weekends devoted to professional development seminars, paint projects, and fun. Together with a group of Atlanta volunteers, they will paint four to six large murals recreating 1930-40 circa advertising for cafes and gas stations that once welcomed travelers along Old 66 in downtown Atlanta. The largest of the murals will be 50 feet by 10 feet and will feature the slogan "Atlanta, Midway on Illinois' Mother Road." Ads will be painted for Palm's Grill, the Texaco Inn, the Wisteria Cafe, and Reisch's Beer, "The Beer that Gives Health and Strength."


The public is invited to actively participate in "LetterRip on Rt. 66" by registering for the event, or to simply come and watch as the murals are painted. Seminars presented will include Mural Design, Pinstriping, Gold Leafing, Airbrushing, Dimensional Signs & Color Theory, Silk Screening, and a presentation on the Ohio Bicentennial Barn Painting Project. To add some kicks on Route 66, the Letterheads will also hold Belt Sander Races and Pinstripers' Drag Races.


"We would like to get the word out to area artists to attend and the registration closes June 30," noted Jane and Bill Diaz, of Diaz Sign Art, Pontiac, who are co-hosting the event. Some other area artists already involved are Steve Connor of Conman Painting, Odell, Dan Kearfott of Kearfott Graphics, Gibson City, Kevin Collins of Kevin Collins Design, Normal, and Ben and Joe Diaz of Prairie Signs, Normal.


For additional information about "LetterRip on Rt. 66," access


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