Festival of Banners

Click here to submit to the 2021 Festival of Banners.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Festival of Banners promotes art in the community by bringing art to the public, and providing an excellent venue for artists of all ages and skill sets.

The South Bend Museum of Art in association with DTSB & the City of South Bend are pleased to present Festival of Banners 2021: Reimagining Labor: How Do You See the Future of Work? 

All entries must be your own design. Works will be selected based upon creativity and how well the theme, Reimagining Labor: How Do You See the Future of Work?  is explored and expressed. 

This year’s theme, Reimagining Labor: How Do You See the Future of Work? comes as we begin to emerge from a global pandemic that sent so many of us home to figure out how to work remotely for the first time. We are so excited to see how our community sees the future of work – what it looks like, how it can be successful, how it impacts the community, and how we see it as shaping a better future. 

Each year, the Festival of Banners coincides with our American Series Exhibition; this year, we are pleased to bring the social and documentary photography work of Lewis Hine, who is known for having inspired the awareness and abuses of child labor, by photographing children working in fields, factories, and mines in the early 20th century – a mere 100 years ago at a time when the average workweek for a full-time employee was 100 hours. Following Hine’s socially engaged photographic career, Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, limiting the work week to 40 hours. That was 1940. This is 2021. How will you contribute to shaping the future of the workforce?

Three age categories–youth, teen, and adult–allow fun for all. Designs are submitted small scale on paper. Jurors select designs based on creative interpretation of the theme, and use of color, pattern and line; the artists are then invited to paint their design on a 2 x 4 ft banner in the SBMA painting studios during the month of July.

Jurors’ Choice Awards are designated for three categories: youth, teen and adult:

1st Place: $100 cash, 1 year SBMA membership, 1 free art class
2nd Place: $50 gift card,1 year SBMA membership, 1 free art class
3rd Place: $25 gift card, 1 year SBMA membership, 1 free art class

Because of the Covid19 pandemic, the awards ceremony and unveiling of the banners may take place virtually. As always, winners will be announced on our website and through our social media channels. The banners fly high for 30 days from mid-August to mid-September in downtown South Bend for the whole community to enjoy!

We are excited to announce this year’s Festival of Banners juror is Krista Bailey, Director of the Center for a Sustainable Future at Indiana University South Bend. Click here to read Krista’s bio!

This community focused project is brought to you by the South Bend Museum of Art with support from patrons Jerry Thoma and Meg Auth.  

Special thanks to the City of South Bend, Downtown South Bend, Inc., and The Art League for partnering and helping to facilitate this public art project.


  • digital image, photograph of a drawing dimensions: 4.25 in wide x 10 in high
  • Vertical designs only. This format is necessary to project the drawing onto the banner. Your design should be considered finished artwork and colored in the manner you intend the larger design to be colored.
  • Simple designs using bold, solid colors are the most effective. Remember, the finished accepted designs will be repainted on a banner and hung on a street light in DTSB, you want viewers to be able to see the details from 9 -14 feet away.
  • Entry Fee $8, unless submitting your work as part of a K-12 class.  Click here to pay the $8 entry fee.
  • All designs & entry forms must be submitted digitally no later than 5:00 pm, April 30, 2021.  To submit visit this link.
  • Artists who’s entries are accepted must agree to paint their own banner for the exhibition. Painting will take place at the Museum July 5-16, 2021. Selected artists may also choose to pick up a kit to paint their banners at home.
  • All materials provided for accepted artists.
  • All banners will become the property of SBMA. However, participants can pick up their banners after October 1, 2021. Banners will be stored on museum property for only 6 months, after which they will be discarded.

*Please note not all entries will be accepted. Children should be at least 8 years of age. 

*Additionally, designs submitted in the wrong format will not be accepted.

Entries chosen by the juror will reflect the wide diversity of community participants. 

If you have any questions, please contact Casey Smallwood at smallwoodc@southbendart.org or 574.235.9102

A listing of all 2020 Festival of Banners artists and a map of banner locations: Click here to download the 2020 brochure with map.


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