I've lived in Portland, Maine, for about seven years now. For seven whole years, I've watched this colorful, cheerful sign that reads "Hopeful"  pop up all over the state.

I continuously say to myself, "Oh yeah, there's that colorful 'hopeful' sign" without knowing why I'm seeing it or what it even means.

Actually, over on Forest Ave in Portland, there's a big, beautiful neon "Hopeful" sign that might spark your memory right now if you've ever driven past it.

The other day while I caught myself once again noticing the sign I realized I don't even know what it is or what brand it's representing. Is it a bookstore? A coffee shop?

I realized I had gone years just acknowledging the sign, and honestly taking comfort in its familiarity without ever knowing the story behind it.

So I finally just dug into it. I had to find out.

What is the meaning of the "Hopeful" signs in Maine?

It all stems from Maine artist Charlie Hewitt.

According to eatdrinklucky.com, Charlie is "hopeful about Portland."

The website states that he is "So hopeful that he has installed a 24-foot lighted sculpture on the roof of Speedwell Projects that projects his optimism in big, colorful neon lights."

Eatdrinklucky.com notes that the sign has "the feel of the 1960s and illuminates Woodfords Corner with all kinds of positive vibes."

To my delight, this big neon Hopeful sign that has now been painted, put on beer cans, photographed and hung up in museums all over the state is simply an act of positive art.

In the above YouTube video, Charlie explains that he created the sign during hard times as a way to inspire hope in himself and others.

I love everything about this. It reminds me why I chose to move back to Maine because the people are simply genuine. Mainers spread their own hope onto others, even when they don't have much themselves. *Cries*

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