Macy’s donates Spokane holiday icon to Downtown Spokane Partnership
As the lights went dark and the final signs removed from the exterior of Spokane’s downtown Macy’s location in March, the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) was making plans to retain one beloved piece of the building’s history.
In 1956, the C.C. Anderson department store chain, based in Boise, completed a new 10-story building located at Main Ave. and Wall St., known as the Bon Marche. The store commissioned a holiday decoration for the front of the building which became the Madonna and Christ Child. The 12’ by 48’ backlit painted plastic sign, built by Baldwin Sign Company, has been installed above the main entrance of the store nearly every holiday season since 1957.
Installed and maintained by Baldwin during her 50 plus years, in 2013 Macy’s commissioned the sign company to update the sign with new light-weight panels and LED bulbs. The update made the display more electrically efficient and easier to install and maintain for the future.
Following the announcement of the closure of the downtown Spokane store, Macy’s received a great deal of public interest about the future of the display. In recognition of the DSP mission as being dedicated to the vibrancy of downtown, Macy’s Inc. generously offered to donate the Madonna to the non-profit, and to include a one-time contribution to offset the expense of moving and storing the art piece at Baldwin Signs until her future is secured.
“It’s our hope to continue the tradition of hanging the Madonna in some form or another,” said DSP President, Mark Richard. “At this point a final location is unknown due to the sale of the building and we welcome thoughts or offers from the community.”
The installation costs to display the Madonna and Child at its current location amount to just over $13,000 annually, which have been paid for by Macy’s Inc. No definitive plans have been made at this time for the 2016 holiday season. “We are incredibly aware how important she is to the downtown holiday experience,” Richard said. “We will do everything we can to make sure she is shining bright again by Thanksgiving and we are hopeful the public will assist us in preserving her legacy.”
Individuals and organizations interested contributing to the Madonna’s future display can contact the DSP at 509.456.0580.
About Downtown Spokane
The Downtown Spokane Partnership is a private, non-profit membership organization that serves as Spokane's central city advocate and service provider, dedicated to enhancing the quality and vitality of Downtown Spokane as the basis for a healthy region. For more information visit www.downtownspokane.org.