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High art — at the Nye Beach Banner Auction

Published on November 7, 2017 10:53AM

By Ben Soeby

By Ben Soeby

Strolling through Newport’s Nye Beach, where finely painted banners fly from every light pole, it is clear that this neighborhood is not short on artistic talent.

But it might start running short of light poles if this keeps up.

This year’s Nye Bear Banner Project features banners from 52 artists, the most in the project’s nine-year history. And art lovers will get the chance to take their favorite piece home with them this Sunday, Nov. 12, when the banners go up for grabs in a silent auction at the Newport Visual Arts Center, with proceeds benefitting kids’ art education.

Veronica Willemin, one of the project’s founders and current chair of the Nye Beach Merchants Association, said this year’s project attracted so many entries that organizers had to double up banners on light poles for the first time ever.

“As Nye Beach continues to grow and develop so does the artistic expression with the Nye Beach Banner Art,” she said. “One of the motivating factors is the combined interest in creative thinking and the importance of art in children’s lives.”

Willemin said the banner project started when merchants came together to find a way to help identify the Nye Beach area.

After looking at the cost of commercially produced banners, Willemin decided to create a few of her own, using old paint tarps as her canvas. The group then started approaching local artists and asking them to get involved

Willemin said the banners reflect the Nye Beach area, Newport’s cultural hub — home to the town’s visual arts center and performing arts center as well as a thriving writers’ scene. The natural environment also features prominently in many designs.

This year, artists were encouraged to give their interpretation of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, resulting in 14 eclipse-themed banners.

In order to minimize out-of-pocket costs for the artists, organizers provide free acrylic house paint, which is tough enough to withstand the coastal elements. Nonetheless, by the time the banners go up for auction, they bear the weathered appearance of genuine street art — a reminder of the formidable natural forces that help shape Nye Beach’s artistic spirit.

The 9th annual Nye Beach Banner Auction will be held from 5 to 8 pm on Sunday, Nov. 12, at the Newport Visual Arts Center, 777 NW Beach Drive.

The event will feature live music and light refreshments. Auction bidding ends promptly at 7 pm. A catalog of banner art is also available for sale as. All proceeds will go toward kids’ art classes offered by the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts.

The 2017 Nye Beach Banner Project is dedicated to Andrew Rodman, who was a good friend and contributor to the project.

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