New HOPE sign in the Main Street District

November 30, 2023

A familiar public art installation is getting an upgrade on Main Street, just in time for the holiday season.

The HOPE sign, formally called “Hope for Columbia,” has become a beloved piece of public art since its installation in 2020. Originally located on the First Citizens Green in the 1300 block of Main Street, “Hope for Columbia” was created to bring a sense of hope to the community amidst the challenges that came with COVID-19.

In 2020, the Main Street District, also known as City Center Partnership, commissioned South Carolina artists Danny Harrington and Brandon McIver to create the original sign, which was meant to be a temporary installation. Because the sign was so well received, the Main Street District kept it up longer than anticipated and eventually moved it to the 1400 block of Main Street on private property owned by Glenfield Capital and managed by Colliers.

“We have seen tremendous enthusiasm for the HOPE sign since its installation. From people taking selfies with it to kids climbing on it, this public art piece has become an attraction for locals and visitors alike,” says Matt Kennell, President & CEO for the Main Street District. “We are eternally grateful to First Citizens Bank for allowing us to use their green space for its original location, and to Glenfield Capital for giving it a new home on their property.”

The first iteration of the sign was made of plywood and featured the City of Columbia flag. Now, the installation will look the same, but is getting a structural upgrade with the use of aluminum and vinyl film fabricated by local sign company, Colite.

“We would like to thank the Colite team, including Colite President and City Councilman Peter Brown, for working on this refabrication with us,” says Kennell. “Columbia is lucky to have such an innovative and community-driven company like Colite in our backyard.”

“Colite is proud to be a part of this great project along with City Center Partnership and the City of Columbia,” says Peter M. Brown, President of Colite and City Councilman. “HOPE is alive in Columbia and this landmark is a testament to all the amazing people in Columbia who are focused on transforming our city. Columbia may have been under the radar for the last decade, but no more. This permanent fixture on Main Street will serve as a reminder to all that Columbia is proud of our past and excited about our future.”

The City of Columbia worked with the Main Street District and Colite to make the installation process as easy as possible. The original sign was removed by the Main Street District’s Yellow Shirt Ambassadors, and the installation of the new structure took place by Colite employees on the morning of Wednesday, November 29. Stay tuned to @MainStColaSC for more photo and video content on the installation process.


About the Main Street District

The Main Street District encompasses the 36-block area bounded by Gervais, Elmwood, Assembly, and Marion streets in Columbia, SC. The organization provides public space management, economic development, place management, marketing services, and public advocacy for the Main Street District. The Board of Directors oversees the organization’s mission — to focus on filling vacancies in commercial properties, retaining existing downtown businesses and recruiting new ones, expanding the downtown residential base, and creating a safe, clean, and friendly downtown environment.