Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the City of Florence, Central Lincoln PUD, and Three Rivers Casino Resort is preparing to hang festive, colorful banners on power and light poles along the Highway 101 corridor and at the casino.
The Chamber announced the effort in mid-May and had a call-to-artists for banner designs open through June 30.
Lane County artist Tara Kemp’s designs were selected by the Chamber. Fine-tuning of the designs wrapped up in September. Kemp will receive $1000 for her suite of designs featuring paintings that cover the scope of local food, entertainment, sea life, and the area’s beautiful and diverse landscape. The first set of banners are scheduled to be installed soon.
“I love it that the Chamber, the City of Florence, and their partners value creating a positive impression of the area through a visual display. I love it that they value creativity and support their artist community, and are creating an outlet for display of regional art,” said Kemp. “It was a pleasant surprise to learn that I had won the privilege to have my art on banners to be hung all over Florence. I am most grateful to Jo Beaudreau for adding a nice finishing touch to my artwork to use on the banners. It gives me great satisfaction to know that someone will smile when they drive by these banners.”
“The Chamber is pleased to launch this program to catch drivers’ attention, get them to slow down a little, and help direct visitors to stop, shop, eat, play, and stay here in Oregon’s Coastal Playground,” explained Chamber president/CEO Bettina Hannigan.
“This will be in harmony with the new streetscape improvements on Highway 101 and our installation of those 120 magnificent flower baskets that adorn Old Town and Highway 101 from the bridge to Highway 126; but the banner project goes farther, all the way up to Fred Meyer,” Hannigan added. “It’s also a way to bring a little joy, celebrate optimism and good will, give all drivers and pedestrians a positive impression of our community, and mark our cautious steps toward the restoration of tourism. All of that helps commerce in our area.”
Jo Beaudreau, of BeauxArts Fine Art Materials & Gallery helped drive the initiative with the Chamber’s Beautification For Florence committee chair Dan Lofy of Lofy Construction. Beaudreau said the program includes six primary themes and three different banner sizes to hang in different locations. Banners will rotate seasonally and feature the themes Shop, Eat, Stay, Play, Oregon’s Coastal Playground, and Florence, to coincide with the Chamber’s other tourism marketing messages.
“This is an exciting way to showcase local public art and design talent. The project will be adaptive and expandable in the future to include additional seasonal changes, events, and more,” Beaudreau said. “Drivers will see our obvious community pride and understand that there is a bounty of fun things to do in and around Florence. They’ll see why this is indeed Oregon’s Coastal Playground. We’re proud of the partnership between the Chamber, the City, Central Lincoln, the businesses, civic clubs, and individuals that will invest in this program.”
“Florence, for its small size, has a large population of artists,” added Kemp. “I think the fact that it is a coastal town and attracts a lot of creatives, and retirees who are inspired by the arts. I enjoy painting regularly with several Florence art friends, either out in the landscape or in our studios via Zoom. There are a lot of beach, bay, and boat scenes that are very attractive to paint or photograph. I enjoy visiting the numerous galleries and the local art supply store. Painting live landscapes has helped me continue to be active and social though the COVID-19 lockdown, and fed my soul during this tough, sequestered time.”
Hannigan reports that under normal circumstances, tourism employs approximately 1900 of the 4600 people working in Florence and pumps about $147 million into the Florence area economy. The average tourist spends about $200 per day when they stay in town overnight. Four million trips are counted in Florence on Highway 101 every year and the banners are intended to capture some of those visitor dollars for the local economy.
To learn more about Kemp’s work visit TaraKempStudio.com.
For more information on the banner project, joining the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, or how to volunteer at the Chamber’s visitors center, contact Hannigan at 541-997-3128 or visit FlorenceChamber.com..