Crary Gallery board will seek variance for its new sign

The Crary Art Gallery had a beautiful new sign installed in August, inadvertently without applying for a variance from the city’s sign ordinance.

It’s too big.

“It’s a slip up, and we are trying to make amends,” said Thomas Paquette. “We overlooked the fact that a variance had to be done.”

City Planner David Hildebrand said the Crary organization now has the forms for the variance, and the next step would be for the Zoning Hearing Board to make a determination.

Crary board member Ines Nelson said, “Discussion about the sign went on for over a year, and I believe at some point it was brought up that we might need a permit, but as happens sometimes on volunteer boards -and there is no other way to put it – this piece fell through the cracks.”

“Personally, my focus was on creating a design that was in line with the architecture of the building and the character of the neighborhood, and I believe we did that,” she noted. “I cannot tell you how many compliments we have received since the sign was installed… its graphic lines and monochromatic tones make it elegant and subdued during the day and at night as well, with the soft LED glow coming from behind each letter. During the winter, we plan to shut it off at 9 p.m., with extended hours during the summer time due to extended daylight.”

Paquette said a board member asked neighbors about the sign, and he reported that, “Most were extremely enthusiastic.”

“We love the city of Warren, and commend the care they take zoning Market Street. It is a beautiful entry to the city, and our intention is none other than to add to that,” Nelson said. “We have had a notable increase in traffic since the sign was installed, with entries in our guest book from several out-of-town guests and locals who had no idea there was an art museum here. We will do everything we can to work with the city and satisfy whatever is needed to have a variance approved. The sign was built with funds generated by donations from our Warren Gives campaign earlier this year and we hope taking it down is not in its future. We have talked to neighbors and every one of them loves the sign and is in full support of its display. We have also been talking to gallery visitors and the community at large, and have collected well over a hundred signatures of community members and visitors who are in support of the sign.”