Yocum Institute for Arts Education, Reading, PA

The Yocum Institute for Arts Education has been connecting and enriching the Reading, Pa. community through arts education, creative performance, and innovative programs for more than 85 years.

The institute had outgrown its building, so they began looking for a new home that would contain ample parking, have space for arts-based kindergarten and preschool classes, and contain dedicated facilities for an educational theater, visual arts and dance studios, and an emerging artist gallery.

In 2018, when the Art Deco-era building on Penn Avenue in West Lawn went to auction, the Yocum Institute’s leadership bought it and began renovation. Because the new location was on a busy highway, leaders knew they needed a sign that would blend with the Art Deco theme of the building, while also informing residents about all the programs the organization offered.

The Yocum Institute reached out to Horst Signs, which designed and built a modern, artistic-style sign fabricated out of aluminum with internal lighting. Horst specified a 10mm digital message center from Watchfire Signs.

“The Institute knew they needed a way to stand out on the busy road, and a digital message center was the perfect solution,” said Randy Bergey, with Horst Signs. “We specified Watchfire because their signs are extremely reliable and they provide exemplary customer support, which is important because the organization relies on it to advertise all of their programs.”

In order to showcase everything that takes place inside the new building, the Yocum Institute’s marketing director programs about 10 messages into a rotation at a time. “I really appreciate that I can pre-program messages to run on the exact day and time I want them,” said Marie Zocco, the Yocum Institute’s director of marketing. “This is especially helpful for events like concerts. I can program a message that says ‘Join us tonight’ to run the day of the event to encourage last minute ticket sales.”

As soon as the sign went up, positive comments started to come in. “We have been in Berks County for 85 years and it is remarkable the number of people who didn’t know about us until now,” said Susan Rohn, executive director of the Yocum Institute. “Our digital sign is a valuable tool for grabbing the attention of the community.”

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