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Restored Aurora Fox Shines Again

Aurora Fox Arts Center Sign Shines Again
Posted on 06/20/2024
Aurora Fox Arts Center Neon Sign

The iconic Fox sign at the historic Aurora Fox Arts Center on East Colfax Avenue is ready to shine again after a comprehensive restoration to its original 1946 colors and condition. The restored neon sign will be lit at approximately 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 22, immediately following the performance of “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 E. Colfax Ave.

After 40 years of minor repairs and exposure to the elements, the neon sign has been fully restored to its original paint scheme. The city of Aurora, through its Historic Sites Program, received a State Historical Fund grant in 2020, covering about half of the costs to take the landmark sign back to its former glory. The rest was covered by donations from Visit Aurora, the Aurora Museum Foundation, an Aurora Fox donation fund and a city of Aurora funding match. The total restoration investment was $143,264, it started in July 2023 and was completed in June 2024.

The original Fox Theater was designed by Denver architect Charles Strong in 1946 with a Streamline Moderne style lobby attached to a World War II surplus Quonset hut. It served as a popular destination for children and adults in the 1950s and 1960s. A fire engulfed the theater in 1981, causing extensive fire and water damage. The building was rehabilitated and reopened in 1985 as the Aurora Fox Arts Center.

“The fact that about a fourth of the total renovation cost was covered by donations speaks to the importance to the community of this visual landmark in north Aurora,” said Ginger White Brunetti, director of Library and Cultural Services for the city of Aurora. “Similarly to the 1980s when the community, private organizations and government banded together to make sure the Fox building was restored and transformed into a performing arts venue, the community rallied again to give the Aurora Fox a well-deserved facelift to greet people for the next 75 years.”

The city’s Historic Preservation Specialist and the sign company designer researched other Fox theaters nationally to determine their common color schemes in the 1940s. While a sign survey identified yellow on the tops of the F-O-X letters, it wasn’t until hand scraping the paint off the rest of the sign revealed yellow in other places as well as a light green accent color on the blade and bullnose.

Following the 1981 fire, Hanger Neon & Sign Company owner Shorty Hanger worked on restoring the sign. His son, Mark Hanger, who helped his father repair the sign at that time, was able to confirm the original neon colors.

As part of the recent restoration process, the yellow upper marquee, which made its debut in the early 1960s, was replaced with white panels in keeping with the original design. The historic Snap-Lok letters attached to the aluminum tracks were also retained, and the neon tubing was reinstalled in mid-June. The sign company, selected via a Request for Proposals process, was Da Vinci Sign Systems Inc. Interior renovation of the Aurora Fox Arts Center will continue in the next months with new seats, carpet and paint as well as adjustments to the accessible ramps.

The Aurora Fox Arts Center is one of the city’s 34 historic landmarks, which alongside two historic districts and four cultural heritage sites, comprises the Historic Sites Program, to learn more, visit and

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