2013 is the eighth year for the Rice Lake Main Street Association (Wisconsin) ArtScape, a banner program that showcases locally-created art, provides a unique twist on an outdoor gallery experience and encourages pedestrians to stroll and traffic to slow through downtown. Invited artists, who often range in age from 12 to 80, are given blank canvas boards for original paintings. Digital photographs are taken of the paintings to make vinyl street banners, posters, the ArtScape website and brochures. The 29 banners grace the decorative light poles in downtown Rice Lake from late May until October, and the original artworks are displayed in several downtown business locations. One thing that makes Rice Lake’s ArtScape program really interesting is that once the community has had a chance to see all of the year’s new banners the original canvas paintings and street banners are available for purchase through an online silent auction on the Rice Lake Main Street Association’s website.
Here in Virginia, Old Town Winchester has its own ArtScape program that has decorated the newly-renovated Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall. The program, which is a cooperative effort between the city of Winchester and the Shenandoah Arts Council with support from the Old Town development board, is in its fifth year of showcasing the works of local artists “age five to 95.” This year’s ArtScape in Old Town Winchester includes 32 original banner images that were chosen through a juried competition. Out of that, 25 percent of the banners are from artisans under the age of 18. ArtScape in Old Town Winchester is made possible by sponsors, contributions from Winchester businesses, private citizens and the Winchester arts community. Photos of all of this year’s banner art are available here or in the ArtScape brochure.