The winning designs for the Main Street Creative Corridor banner competition were unveiled this morning. More than 30 artists submitted two to three designs each for consideration. Mayor Mark Stodola, aided by Todd Herman, executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center, selected designs by two artists: Virmarie DePoyster of North Little Rock and Stephano (Steven Sutherlin) of Little Rock.
DePoyster’s two designs will bookend the north and south ends of the deck with color-manipulated photographs of a ballerina and a saxophone player. The model for Her Song is a dancer from Ballet Arkansas, while the saxophone player gracing Lost in the Moment is a student at eStem Public Charter High School in downtown Little Rock. The use of photography and Photoshop is new to the artist, who typically paints landscapes and abstract works. DePoyster, whose works will soon be featured in a show at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, says “color has always been a strong part of my work.” Her designs for Main Street banners feature the colors of the Creative Corridor logo.
Stephano’s painting City of Bridges, chosen for the middle banner, utilizes the same color palette to illustrate prominent features of the downtown skyline. The piece was “inspired by the natural beauty of Arkansas, the structures, and the color personalities,” says Stephano.
When both artists met recently to finalize details about the installation of the banners, they were pleasantly surprised at how well their pieces played off of one another.
“We never even talked and yet we came up with these [complementary] images,” Stephano said as DePoyster nodded.
Stodola, one of the driving forces behind the Creative Corridor, says “I am pleased that the colorful designs by these two local artists will brighten up Main Street by highlighting artistic expression in its many forms. As we head toward the grand opening event on Sept. 14, more and more projects will be finished, helping to complete the transformation of this grand American Street.”
Funding for the two outside banners and lighting for all three comes from the private foundation ArtPlace. Funding for the middle banner comes from the Little Rock Visitors and Convention Bureau.