MADISON — Lighting up downtown is the newly installed LED marquee sign at the Madison Arts Cinema.
What started out as an upgrade from original marquee, dating back to the opening of the cinema in 1999, is now a “fully digital, LED full color, LED marquee,” said cinema owner Arnold Gorlick. “With quintillion radiations of color, if you can believe it.”
The new marquee provides more information about what shows are playing and eliminates the arduous task of climbing up on a ladder each week to update film names.
“Our other marquee was quite old and retro, I suppose it syncs with the idea of a town founded a long time ago,” said Gorlick.
“It was difficult. Having a marquee that you have to change with a 12-foot ladder, sometimes two and three times a week to make adjustments for it meant that someone had to go up,” he added.
“Someone had to go up in the rain, in the sleet, in the snow, the worst weather, whatever happened the marquee had to be changed, you couldn’t have the wrong information on there,” he said.
Ryan Duques, chairman of the Madison Economic Development Commission, understands Gorlick’s need to upgrade the system.
“While I believed that the old marquee was charming, as a proponent for responsible economic growth in town, I put great trust in our town's business professionals, like cinema owner Arnold Gorlick to ensure their businesses remain visible and relevant as technology and expectations evolve,” he said.
Gorlick has no reservations about spending $30,000 on the upgrade.
“It’s almost an irrational decision that I made,” he said. “I love the theater so much and it’s my passion. It’s important to keep the business healthy, where I’m looking at the bottom line, but what I really do it pursue my passion and let the bottom line take care of itself.”
This new, improved marquee has the capability to not only publicize shows and showtimes, but also movie graphics and images, in addition to the date, time and weather conditions. The images can change every 10 seconds.
Gorlick foresees that the marquee will also serve a town purpose, possibly announcing town committee meetings and community events.
From the original idea to the marquee’s installation was a year and half long process. The original idea, to replace the original marquee with a screen with a black background, block, monochromatic letters, either in red, green or amber letters, changed after working extensively with The Advisory Committee on Community Appearance (ACCA) and the Planning & Zoning Commission.
“What evolved from just steering ourselves from having to go up the ladder turned out to be the most high-tech and costly marquee that we could have possibility put up,” Gorlick said.
“We’re not going to be going to go to having explosions and fireworks on the marquee, even though I can do it,” he added. “That’s not in keeping with the town’s mission.