Part of our mission at City Hall is to support the local arts community and promote public art because art enhances life and brings pleasure to people, so we incorporated public banner projects as part of our Better in Brentwood Citywide Marketing Campaign. One of our goals is to develop Downtown Brentwood as a destination.
Our initial project, which we started this past May, was the Military/Veteran Banner Program that honored local veterans by hanging 32 banners displaying their names and status on the light poles along the pathway at Veteran’s Park.
Now we are sponsoring a Banner Up project to raise revenue for the arts. We are creating a set of banners for auction, thus putting the skills and talents of local artists to use in order to fund local arts development. We got the idea for Banner Up from Gus, who told us that when he was the Encinitas City Manager, a program called Encinitas Arts Alive used local artists to create 101 custom art banners, which were displayed along U.S. Route 101 for three months and then auctioned off.
We had an encouraging conversation about the banner idea with Danny Salzhandler, who had managed the Encinitas banner program. We invited Danny to visit Brentwood and introduced him to the Arts Commission where he reviewed our vision and stirred up a lot of excitement and enthusiasm. The commissioners were especially receptive because they understood that the plan would further their mission to “stimulate and promote cultural enrichment within the city.”
We realized we needed help with implementation, so we contacted the Art Guild of the Delta. They immediately threw their support behind the project and began enlisting members’ cooperation. They were charged with the difficult task of naming the project. Many suggestions were offered but the discussion came to a halt when Barbie Koncher, former Artist of the Year, suggested the name Banner Up. Everyone immediately knew that she had come up with the right name.
Mary Lamb, the current Artist of the Year and one of guild’s co-founders, stepped up and assumed chairmanship for the Banner Up program. Mary easily found 70 artists who were enthusiastic about participating. Some of them were fellow guild members, of course, but more than half of them came from artists in the general community. Mary wanted the banners to represent all parts of the Brentwood demographic so she included high school and college students as contributing artists. We also coordinated with the Brentwood Downtown Coalition who agreed to be one of the sponsors of our gala event and auction, which will be held on September 29, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Community Center.
We hung the banners the last week in June, so they were on view for residents and visitors during the Fourth of July Parade and the Harvest Festival. They continue to be seen by attendees at the Starry Nights concerts in the City Park and at the Farmers’ Market, as well as attendees at the Art, Wine, and Jazz Festival later this month. The banners are also displayed in digital form on the Art Guild of the Delta and City websites, and in print media including catalogues and bookmarks illustrating each of the banners. They are available in print form at the community center and in literature racks at various downtown locations. Becky Bloomfield agreed to provide cases of wine from her Bloomfield Winery with labels depicting artwork showing the banners.
We are anticipating that the Banner Up project will become a great success and that it will prove to be the first of what will become a highly anticipated annual event. In the future we plan to have more banners on display at more locations.
The Banner Up project is enhancing the beauty of our downtown through visually stimulating and inspiring art as a resource for supporting the artistic community and ensuring the growth of public art throughout our already lovely community. What could be more satisfying than that?