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Public Works sign repainted by expert artists

The wooden sign outside of the Public Works building on Hudson St. was recently repainted by Alexis Ader, owner of the Rockford-based company Signs with Design.

Ader said she spent about 80 hours applying 15 different colored paints to the sign, which hadn't been repainted for about 10 years.

“Whomever designed and made the original signs did an amazing job and I hope that we helped add many more years to the life of those gorgeous signs,” Ader said.

First, a crew from the DPW removed the sign and brought it to the workshop in Rockford.

“We have quite a bit of prep time,” Ader said. “We power wash the sign then sand and scrape the loose paint. Then the entire sign is primed with multiple sprayed layers. The sign is then sprayed with the background color which was blue in the case of this sign. After that the letters and borders are painted with their appropriate color with two to four coats or until the color is vibrant. That sign had roughly 15 colors. We use sign enamel paints and hand mix them to get the desired color. The very detailed paintings in the circles were the most challenging. I am more of a production artist so I had my very talented friend Connie Kuhnle do that part. She spent almost 40 hours painting the three images on each side of the sign. She also wanted to improve on the image and did research to make the Showboat look like the actual boat.”

Ader has repainted signs or created new signs for dozens of businesses and organizations around the Grand Rapids area, including a few prominent ones in Lowell.

“We've been in business for 19 years and have done a lot of them,” Ader said. “We've done new sandblasted wood signs for Peterson Funeral Home and Cakabakery, just to mention a couple. We also do restorations like we've done with many of the Lowell signs. The 'Welcome to Lowell' signs were the first that we restored for the city of Lowell, along with the city hall sign.”

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