The Medford Arts Council and the City of Medford announce the installation of a set of four banner designs for the inaugural Medford Art Banners series. Altogether, twenty art banners—five for each selected design—have been hung in Medford Square along Salem Street, High Street, and Riverside Avenue.
The four banner artists are Jamie Chan, Jennifer DesAutels, Kevin Ferreira, and Howie Green.
The Art Banners program was launched in May and seeks to enhance the vitality of Medford’s squares and promote the city as a destination for the arts. Similar initiatives in surrounding communities have successfully engaged the public to look at their neighborhood centers in fresh ways.
“These banners reflect the active arts scene we have in our community while bringing a pop of color and vibrancy to Medford Square,” said Mayor Stephanie M. Burke. “There are so many talented artists who live in and around Medford—this is a unique way to showcase some of their work and promote the importance of arts and culture in Medford.”
The open competition for banner designs attracted 92 submissions by 20 artists and graphic designers. The Medford Arts Council sought compelling artwork that was well-designed for printed display in busy outdoor settings. The four chosen designs are each distinctive in style, subject matter, and composition, but they also work well together as an ensemble.
Howie Green, whose floral design is entitled “Pop Art Deco Flowers 316,” has created public art around Boston, and loves to “add color and fun to city streets.”
Two Medford residents, Jamie Chan and Jenn DesAutels, were selected for the art banner program. They also have in common an appreciation for Amelia Earhart, who lived in Medford early during her aviation career.
Chan, a full-time graphic designer and “stencil fanatic by night,” created a striking and colorful variation on a famous black-and-white photographic portrait of the aviator. The title of his banner, “Daring to Overcome,” pays tribute to Earhart’s inspirational example.
DesAutels works as an illustrator and coordinates the annual Medford Children’s Art Showcase among other visual arts activities in the city. Her design is called “Arts Taking Off in Medford” and includes Earhart’s Lockheed Vega plane among an intricately assembled set of cultural “gems that represent Medford,” such as Wright’s Tower, Grandfather’s House, the Condon Shell, and the Chevalier Theatre.
Kevin Ferreira, an illustrator who lives and works in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood of Boston, brought his expertise in animation to a bold, quirky banner design entitled “Lighthouse.” In this work and others, Ferreira combines bright colors and subtle visual ideas to foster new thoughts in the viewer.
The Art Banners project was developed and paid for by the Medford Arts Council in response to community input and public discussions over the last year. In online surveys and public forums—including the Medford Arts and Culture Summit from November 2015 and meetings held by Mayor Burke’s transition teams for Cultural Affairs and Recreation, and Business and Economic Development—residents consistently identified the need for more cultural activities that would enhance the public experience in Medford Square and other neighborhood centers. Another common theme in recent community feedback has been the desire for more public art in Medford.
In response to this feedback, the Medford Arts Council voted to include public art as one of four new local priorities for community grant awards in 2017. All proposals for grant funding are due by October 17th and must be submitted through the online application system administered by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
This year’s Art Banners will remain in Medford Square for several months. Depending on community interest and feedback, future series of Art Banners may be commissioned and installed in other neighborhoods next year.