For community organizations like Art Reach of Mid Michigan, 2020 proved challenging when trying to organize the myriad of events that have come to define the Mt. Pleasant-based arts nonprofit.
Yet they pulled it off, albeit without the larger crowds that the organization might usually expect.
With COVID-19 limiting the size and scope of many of their events, Art Reach found ways to adapt and continue providing opportunities to promote and celebrate the arts.
As the organization enters its 40th year, Art Reach kicks off the New Year by opening up the submission window for the 13th annual Festival of Banners. While the events leading up to the festival have been curtailed by the coronavirus, the festival itself will carry on.
The banners will fly in 2021, organizers say.
“We’re moving ahead with the 2021 Festival of Banners and we’re really excited to make it happen in the midst of COVID-19. Last year, the festival was at the apex of COVID-19 and we were able to pivot, to use a popular word from last year, and pull it off and make it happen,” says Amy Powell, Executive Director of Art Reach of Mid Michigan.
“We’ve made some modifications this year and I’m confident that if we could pull it off last year then we definitely can pull it off this year.”
In a typical year, Art Reach organizes several community painting events where people could gather and create their banners together.
But this is no typical year. Instead, Art Reach plans to give participants their own painting kits, complete with disposable paint brushes and nine different colors of paint, so that painters can create the banners from the safety and comfort of their own homes.
This year’s theme is Celebrate Art and entrants are encouraged to create their designs along those lines. Those that are interested have until Friday, Feb. 19 to submit a proposal for their banner design. The banners will be installed on the street poles of Mt. Pleasant and Shepherd, at McLaren Central Michigan, and on Pickard Street in Union Township.
The banners will stay up through November 2021.
“We are really excited to be offering the festival again this year, its thirteenth,” says Powell. “We’re hoping the number 13 brings us good luck.”
To learn more about the submission process, visit artreachcenter.org/festival-of-banners.
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