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The gateway banners for West Chicago's 2013 Community Art Banner Project feature the work of Cultural Arts Commission member John Keeney, and illustrate his point of view on "A Question of Balance," the theme for this year's display. (Photo provided)

The banners are back, and the artists are about to be celebrated with a reception during Blooming Fest this weekend. The reception is from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in Gallery 200, 200 Main St., West Chicago.

"A Question of Balance," the theme of the 2013 Community Art Banner Project, provides the perspectives of 11 artists who answered the call for art from the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission. The chosen artwork has been transferred to one-of-a-kind street banners that transform Main Street in West Chicago into an outdoor gallery from May through September.

The jurors

Submissions for the 2013 Community Art Banner Project were juried by the husband-and-wife artist team of Mario Contreras and Diana Gabriel of The Contreras Gabriel Project.

The artists
The winning artwork was created by the following individuals who live in or around West Chicago: Anne Frantzen, Lewis Achenbach, Mark Anderson, Rebecca Hall, Harvey Hanig, Judith Horsley, Kathryn Lentz, Sylvia Mosier, James Rakow, Craig Wassel and Rachel Weaver-Rivera.

The graphic designs bring an exciting visual element to downtown West Chicago, note organizers. Each work of art was incorporated into a 30-by-60-inch banner template through the artistry of Cultural Arts Commission member John Keeney, whose own art graces the entry banners at each end of the display.

Visitors at Saturday's free reception can enjoy refreshments and chat with the artists. They also will be able to offer suggestions for the 2014 Community Art Banner Project theme, as well as cast their vote for their favorite 2013 banner artist. That artist will be recognized with the prestigious People's Choice Award presented in September at the conclusion of the exhibit season.

Organizers, who note this is the sixth year for the project, say it has captured the attention of neighboring communities, which have inquired about the logistics of putting their own displays together, and is a credit to the creative talents of the Cultural Arts Commission and the local artists who participate.

To see all the winning designs, visit the city’s website at, or better yet, pick up a Banner Walking Tour Map at City Hall, the City Museum or Gallery 200 and plan a trip to view them.