Project brings new signs of life to Route 66

Route 66 signs

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools students are putting a new twist on old signs on Route 66. The Highland High School students are sprucing up signs on empty lots along Central.

“I think it’s cool because we’ve never done something like this before and put it out in public,” said Dominic Muller, an art student at Highland High School.

“I am excited,” said art student Monique Apodaca. “I just would like to see how people react to our signs.”

The old signs came down, replaced with new ones Thursday.

A group of local artists called Friends of the Orphan Signs, works with two Highland High classes for six weeks on these projects. There are 25 to 30 students in each class, and the signs get switched out every semester

“It gives them a connection to their place and their town and their city and feel like they’re a part of it too,” said Erin Fussell, a visiting artist from Friends of the Orphan Signs.

They say it’s good for the city, too.

“Seeing the same old decaying sign every day, you stop seeing it,” said Ellen Babcock, founding director of Friends of the Orphan Signs. “So, why not surprise people a little bit? Put in things that are a little unexpected. Make the experience of commuting up and down Central more interesting.”

With the help of donors, the group has been able to lease two signs along Central near Washington.

The owner wasn’t too sure about it at first, but now he is encouraging other businesses to give it a try.

“It has been a great concept, a great idea,” said Jerry Landgraf, owner of the lot. “It really spruced up the area.”

Friends of the Orphan Signs says it partnered with the high school five years ago, starting an after-school art club that eventually evolved into this program.

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