Festival of Banners

Banners will be on display on the streetlights in downtown South Bend between August 15 and September 15, 2021.

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 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.


*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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