Opera House sign wins international award, acclaim

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The new Lexington Opera House marquee was awarded a top prize in the 2020 Signs of the Times Signshop Competition, according to sign industry news organization, Signs of the Times.

Designed by Eric Larson of Wagner Electric Sign Company, the Opera House marquee won first place in the category of Best Original Design and Fabrication, Illuminated, Large Shop of 2020. The international design competition, now in its fifth decade, included signs across 10 categories.

“We are thrilled to have a First Place prize designation for the new marquee adorning the community treasure that is the Lexington Opera House,” said Central Bank Center President and CEO Bill Owen. “For the first time in 44 years, since the 1970s, an ornate and highly visible marquee now serves to welcome Opera House patrons and identify what live entertainment is playing and when. Congratulations to designer Eric Larson and The Wagner Sign Company for creating a highly functional and stunning design that illuminates and embellishes the crown jewel of downtown Lexington.”

The Wagner Electric Sign Company, based in Elyria, Ohio, specializes in refurbishing and replacing marquee signage for historical theatres.

Designer Eric Larsen made multiple site visits  and collaborated with Opera House Performing Arts and Marketing departments to ensure the customized design retained the ornate aesthetic of the historic venue, originally constructed in 1886.

The sign took four months to build and one week to install.

The design incorporated the local area and state flowers as well as architectural accents of the opera house.

Decorative accents on the lower marquee were designed with the original exterior façade as inspiration.

The center section of the lower marquee was inspired by interior accents of the Opera House. More than 1,100 LED bulbs are incorporated to create the “flash and chase” lighting system.

Twin 10 mm LED message centers had to be angled drastically due to the distance between the building and power lines for this project.

Stats & Fun Facts

  • Weight of the lower marquee is 6300 lbs
  • Weight of the blade is 3250 lbs.
  • The Electronic Message Displays are 50” tall and 11’9” wide
  • The blade is 23/5’ in height
  • The White Leaf Leather Flower and the Spring Beauty were the inspiration for the
    under canopy ceiling decoration. Both of these flowers are abundant in Kentucky.
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