An elaborately crafted sign designed by renowned neon pop artist Todd Sanders is the latest addition to public art in Downtown Springdale. The sign, which features the name Springdale below a yellow rose, was recently installed above the entrance to Shiloh Square at Turnbow Park on Emma Avenue.
As part of existing plans to remodel Shiloh Square, which included replacing the existing sign that had become discolored and in disrepair, the city of Springdale partnered with a private benefactor to secure the neon artwork on loan as a replacement.
“We are in the process of remodeling Shiloh Square,” says Mayor Doug Sprouse. “The existing sign needed to be replaced, the columns inside haven’t been repainted since the 1970s, and some of the informational signage inside Shiloh Square needed updating.”
“A private collector approached us about loaning this beautiful piece to us,” Sprouse adds. “It made sense to install it and to expand our public art downtown. Some people have asked if it represents the yellow rose of Texas or something like that. There’s no hidden meaning. It’s simply an attractive neon sign by a famous artist we thought would beautify downtown.”
Sanders, who has hosted art shows of his work across the country, lists among his notable collectors Willie Nelson, Johnny Depp, Norah Jones and Russell Crowe. Among his corporate collaborations are works for Nike, Fossil, Anthropologie, LG Phone and Wired Magazine. Sanders’ most popular design, his animated, 5-foot by 30-inch “Fireflies in a Mason Jar,” originally was created for the wedding of Miranda Lambert to Blake Shelton.
“This is a one-of-a-kind piece that was commissioned by the owner,” says Sanders. “I wanted to do a rose because I’ve been to Northwest Arkansas and was impressed by the strong botanical presence there. There’s no real meaning to the rose being yellow other than I had previously done a number of red rose pieces and wanted to do something different.”
The artist has a strong following among neon art collectors. “Just like a perfectly tuned guitar his neon signs are a work of art,” says Billy Gibbons, guitarist and lead singer of ZZ Top. Shepard Fairey, a well-known American contemporary street artist and graphic designer notes, “His work demonstrates a craftsmanship and authenticity which bring art and commerce together.”
“Folks need to drive by at night when the sign and the Turnbow Park lights are on. It’s a tremendous addition to our downtown,” adds Sprouse. “Our future plans include even more public art including murals, statues and neon. We want to continue to enhance the changing face of Downtown Springdale.”