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Removal of the Englert Theatre's marquee began before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning; by that afternoon, the space above the theater doors was baren.

The marquee, casting shade and shelter over its patch of sidewalk on 221 E. Washington since its installation, estimated to be1958, has become iconic fixture of downtown Iowa City. The red and yellow overhang brazen against the brick of surrounding buildings and the theater itself.

"The marquee is made to be disassembled," said Jessica Egli, the events director for the theater, in an email to the Press-Citizen. "Each part — known as a cabinet — has been carefully removed and will be restored by a marquee restoration expert."

While the marquee will remain absent the length of the summer it will be remounted once broken facets have been replaced and repairable parts have been refurbished. Egli estimates the marquee will make its reappearance sometime this November.

"For the duration of the summer, the marquee's skeleton will remain while the skin is receiving some much-needed attention," explained Josh Moe of OPN Architects.

This is the latest and most visible in a series of restorations The Englert has planned this year with funds from the ongoing Strengthen, Grow, Evolve capital campaign done in conjunction with FilmScene.

Because of COVID-19, the theater has been closed for the past few months with no live events listed for the remainder of June and July. While this means the venue is taking a hit financially, it also has allowed interior repairs to begin slightly earlier than intended.

Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at the Press-Citizen. Reach him at ihamlet@press-citizen.com or (319)-688-4247, follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet

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