When photojournalist Corky Scholl started the non-profit Save the Signs in 2012, the first sign he wanted to save was the neon, Googie-style wonder that had graced Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar on East Colfax Avenue until the place closed in 1983. Two decades later, Scholl found it for sale on Craigslist -- and to keep the sign from being sold to an owner who might not publicly display it, Scholl created Save the Signs and started a fundraising effort to buy the icon.
Though unsuccessful at that first attempt, Scholl convinced owners Mike Brown and Melissa Kostic to lease it to him until he could make another attempt to save the sign. This week, Scholl and friends launched a new Indiegogo campaign, and now they need your help to get this neon beauty back out on Colfax where it belongs.
The sign is currently on display in two places, with most of it at The Collection, an art gallery on East Colfax, and another portion at the Park House, also on Colfax. Scholl says Brown is willing to display the sign publicly somewhere regardless of the financial outcome, but as of right now, these spaces are temporary. Raising the money for the sign would put it in Scholl's possession -- and he is sure that he'd then be able to find a place where this piece of Denver history could be shared permanently with the public.
Save the Signs has a partnership with the Aurora Cultural Arts District, which has a deal with The Collection -- but that's not a permanent arrangement. "We would want to try to keep it on Colfax, since it is the main neon drag throughout Denver, historically speaking," says Scholl. Through this latest campaign, Save the Signs hopes to raise $2,500 to purchase the sign; Scholl says it is in great working condition and won't cost much to maintain.
Beyond being a wonderful piece of Colfax's checkered past, the Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar sign is a piece of art. "It is just a really cool, bright neon sign. It's a great example of commercial signage from that era. It's got overlapping, zigzagging letters and nobody would put that amount of work into bending glass on a modern sign," says Scholl. "The font and the lettering -- it's just that fun, Googie-style. It's a fun sign to look at and it puts out a lot of light. It is a very aesthetically pleasing sign and the thing is, all of these signs, they have a story to tell. That one in particular has maybe more stories than others. It's art and it's history and it is definitely something that should be saved."
To find out more about Save the Sign's effort to save the Sid King's Crazy Horse Bar sign, visit the Indiegogo page. For more about Save the Signs and other projects it has worked on, visit the non-profit's Facebook page.
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