Driving through downtown Nicholasville, one will soon begin to notice splashes of color as personalized painted banners once again line Main Street light poles this summer.
The Art Depository’s Community Banner Project returned this year and is bigger than ever, artist Eddie Clements said.
“Every year, they get better and better,” Clements said. “At first, (the kids) didn’t know what to do, and you can tell through the years their art has got finer and they think it through and they know what to do.”
Last week on Wednesday morning, the entire Blue Building at City-County Park was “slammed full” of young artists working on their banners, so much so that many had to work outside as well, Clements said.
With school out, many children showed up with parents and siblings such as Audrey Peel, who brought her three children “just to start the summer off right” and dive into an art project.
“It was packed; there wasn’t enough room,” Kelley Woolums said. “People were waiting in line outside just to do their paintings.”
Clements spearheaded The Community Banner Project eight years ago as way to beautify downtown Nicholasville and get kids involved in art and in the community.
When he first went to the city commission in 2004, it was to propose a public art statement. However, they were a “little weary” of his idea but they gave it a shot.
“The city wasn’t sure at first because I couldn’t tell them exactly how this was going to happen,”
Clements said. “‘We’ll put them up for two weeks,’ they said to me, and that two weeks turned into three months. That’s how well the banners were received.”
The first 25 banners ended up staying up for several months and ever since have been a yearly art statement with more and more banners each year.
“It’s a great public art,” he said. “It’s main goal is build the art through the community and build community through the art.”
The project has seen tremendous growth, and Clements said he expects as many as 50 banners to be hung this year. Not only that, but his project is being emulated all over the state, he said.
Normally the project does not begin until August, Clements said, but due to its popularity, they were asked to start early so that the banners can stay up all summer.
As far as support, Crown Market, The Hayden Company, Judge-Executive Neal Cassity, Jessamine County Fiscal Court and Nicholasville City Commission have all be very instrumental and “brave” to put on this project, Clements said.
“I really have to thank the city and the country, it’s been a real blessing,” he said. “We’re going to keep going as long as we can.”