Street Banner Design Program

This program offers artists and designers an opportunity to submit proposals for original banner artwork that will be hung in Nanaimo’s downtown area. Banners will be on display in the Arts District downtown, along Bowen Road, Third Street and other major routes, creating a vibrant visual presence.

2024 Street Banners

2024 Street Banner Design by Amy Pye

The 2024 Street Banner Design Program sought proposals from artists focused on the theme, ‘150 Years’, to mark 150 years since the City of Nanaimo’s incorporation in 1874. Nanaimo artist Amy Pye’s outstanding design was selected.

Submissions asked artists to consider what makes Nanaimo unique, what makes it a destination of choice, and what might capture and reflect positive memories of our community. Pye’s design reflects an appreciation for the complexity of our city. Inspired by the convergence of land and sea, and the unique blend of urban and rural life that makes our landscape truly exceptional, Pye’s design will grab attention and inspire thoughtful reflection throughout the year. ‘150’ becomes more than just a number, and instead takes on life and transformative shape as it tells its story.

Rural tradition meets urban innovation in a harmonious visual balance between nature and our modern city, as recognizable symbols of our diverse landscape transform the shape of the 1-5-0 and cascade down the banner. Fertile countryside meets bustling city streets; the flight of an eagle reveals the bounties of the sea; a soaring seaplane finds the solid structures of an urban center. These dynamic relationships are highlighted by the artist, coming to life as balanced opposites.

2024 street banners will be on display in spring 2024 and hung in Nanaimo’s downtown area, including in the Arts District downtown, along Bowen Road, and on Third Street and other major routes.

2024 Street Banner Design Competition is now closed. Watch for the Call for 2025 Banner Designs in late spring/ early summer 2024. 

Find more information on Nanaimo's 150th HERE

2023 Street Banners 

Artist: Sebastian AbboudCoN-banner-small

Commissioned for the theme ‘Gratitude’, this banner is a bold graphic representation of gratitude for love and growth. The design, by Sebastian Abboud was commissioned through the Urban Design Roster program. In the design on the left is a rendering of stylized hands symbolically depicting love for community, one another, and an appreciation for life. Below the hands is an equal sign, representing balance and equality. In the design on the right a stylized flower below a rain cloud represents growth and resiliency. A smile within both heart shapes reinforces the intended positive tone of the piece, as well as optimism the artist felt we all need at this moment in time.

“This design started with a small pencil sketch of the heart/flower and grew from there.  I was inspired by community, my family, and Nanaimo, and set out to create a bold, iconic and clear, playful graphic representation of gratitude for love and growth. It’s about being grateful for all that we have in both sunshine and rain. It was important to me that the piece feel optimistic and representative of change, so a gradient blend background was a suitable choice to communicate that idea” says Abboud. 

Sebastian Abboud is a Nanaimo, BC based freelance designer and illustrator, artist, and an educator in the Graphic Design department at VIU. Sebastian specializes in hand-drawn doodle style illustrations and geometric vector icon-based work. His work has been described as whimsical, lighthearted, playful and loose. Originally from Calgary via Vancouver, Sebastian has a BFA in New Media from the University of Lethbridge and an MA in Graphic Design from the University of Hertfordshire. He works from his home studio in South Nanaimo that he shares with his wife Maxine and their twin boys.


2022 Street Banners 

Artist: Roz MacLean

In 2022, visual artist Roz MacLean was commissioned to create a banner reflecting the theme 'Growing and Thriving in Nanaimo' .

This banner design considers the plant life of this region. With this year’s theme inspired by a garden, I wanted to think about systems of growth and life that consider wellness, from root to flower and earth to sky. I enjoyed learning the names and characteristics of the plants you can see in the design, such as Kinnikinnick, Fireweed, Blue Camas, White Avalanche Lily and Iris Tenax. Roots nourish plants, and everything below the soil is just as vital to flourish as what appears above. This is true for plants and for human beings!” says MacLean.  


2021 Street Banners 

Artist: Becky Thiessen

In 2021, the chosen banner design reflected the thematic call call was Nanaimo 2121: One Hundred Years Forward

When I think 100 years forward, I can’t help but think 100 years back. Industry and increased settlement have made a significant impact on the natural environment in this region. People have lived in this area for thousands of years, in balance with the ecology. My banner imagery represents this idea. When I imagine Nanaimo in 100 years, I hope that the reverence for the cedar tree remains and I hope the estuary can still claim to be one of the greatest natural resources in the region.

 2021 Street Banner Design by Becky Thiessen

Want to stay in the know about future artist opportunities?

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