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Neon lights up downtown Lynn

Joe Martin, Left, and Brian Bourgeois install a sign at Toys Stationery Sporting Goods in Lynn. (Mark Sutherland)

LYNN — If you like flashy neon signs from a bygone era, downtown is the place to be.

Beyond Walls, which commissioned 20 local and international artists to paint 15 giant murals on buildings throughout the city’s Cultural District last summer, is back, this time with vintage neon artwork from an anonymous Lynn collector.

“These vibrant artifacts of classic commercial Americana are being dusted off, spruced up, and displayed in all their retro glory,” said Al Wilson, founder of Beyond Walls.

So far, the installation includes a blue, yellow and gray Carroll’s Typewriter Exchange sign, Toys Stationery Sporting Goods in navy blue and white, and Elm Restaurant on Munroe Street. At Washington and Oxford streets, the Egg O Mat sign recalls the coin-operated refrigerated device with a revolving carousel that dispensed eggs. There’s also a Lad & Lassie, Joe’s Shoe Service, and a massive Poultry and Fish sign near the Lynn Museum.   

Others are coming, including O’Days Cleaners on Oxford Street.

In all, there will be a dozen signs.

“Based on community meetings and the feedback from residents and business owners, the public wants more public art and more light on underpasses and on the sidewalks to increase walkability,” Wilson said. “Ideally, it will make downtown safer and improve commerce at mom and pop shops, restaurants and cafes.”

A lighting ceremony will be scheduled for next month and the neon signs will be on display for the next three years.   

“These nostalgic pieces are evocative of Lynn’s heyday and its commercial and industrial past,” Wilson said.

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