Destin Banner Art Project brings color, along with coastal flair, to Main Street
Main Street in Destin has gone coastal — at least on the banner poles that line the median.
The Christmas-themed banners came down Wednesday and eight new banners went up with a coastal flair along Main Street as part of the Destin Banner Art Project headed up by Ron Sandstead of Flutterby Antiques.
“Our theme is coastal … anything that’s coastal, whether it’s boats, fish or birds, the beach … it could be a sunset on the water,” Sandstead said. “It’s up to them to choose what they want for a subject.
“But I wanted something that everyone could relate to locally,” he added.
And the local artist had no problem working within the coastal theme and covered just about all the bases from birds, water, beach umbrellas and sunsets.
Kathryn Guidry of Valparaiso painted a sunset scene with a heron.
“I did it because it kind of reflects the area and the colors were very vivid, so I thought it would make a perfect banner,” Guidry said.
Although this is Guidry’s first time to participate in the banner project, she’s dabbled in all sorts of arts and crafts all her life.
“Growing up I had a father who was very artistic and talented … so I guess it kind of runs in the family,” she said.
When her children went off to college, she had more time on her hands and took painting lessons.
Since then she has done artwork to raise money for such local organizations as the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society and Children in Crisis. She’s also very involved with Fisher House.
Fisher House is located on Eglin Air Force Base and provides a “home away from home” so that military families can be together during treatment for serious illnesses.
“That’s my big project,” she said, noting that her husband is retired military.
Also new to the banner project is 12-year-old Jenna Rodriguez. Rodriguez couldn’t be there Wednesday to watch her banner go up because she was in school. However, her mother, Catherine Card, was there to watch as city workers put it in place.
“This is so cool. … It’s a proud momma moment,” Card said.
Rodriguez, who painted a dock overlooking the water with a sunset in the background, was excited to be a part of the project.
“I just started drawing and that’s what came out,” she said. “I’m very excited my banner was chosen and I hope I have the opportunity to do another drawing in the future.”
Card said Rodriguez took the work seriously.
“She created something very beautiful, and I’m sure we will be driving down Main Street a lot.”
As for the young Rodriguez, she said, “It’s just fun to draw and I hope people like it.”
Corey Anderson of Fort Walton Beach and an employee for the city of Destin watched his first banner go up Wednesday.
Anderson painted a heron.
“The dimensions were a little difficult … they were twice as tall as what I’m used to,” he said.
Anderson said he’s a pencil sketcher, but did the heron out of water with color pencils.
Although this is his first time to submit artwork for the banner project, he has painted a few other things such as turtles and lionfish that he has given away at the city Christmas parties in the past.
Why a heron? “I picked it because it was tall … to fill up the space,” he said.
Several city employees came out Wednesday to watch Anderson’s banner go up.
“I’ve been bragging about it for a year. … It’s a big honor,” he said of being part of the project.
For Kathy Schumacher of Niceville, this is her third time to participate in the project. Her first banner was a palm tree, then she did the poinsettias for Christmas.
This time she did a sailboat going around the jetties in East Pass.
“It reflects our beautiful blue waters of the Emerald Coast and sailing,” Schumacher said.
She loves being part of the banner project.
“It’s exciting to see your name that big … you just hope it is spelled right,” she said, noting that it was.
"I’m so glad (Sandstead) started this project because I think this area needs more art and culture,” Schumacher said.
Other local artists who had banners go up Wednesday were Jennifer Viaene, Estelle Grengs, Joy Fine and Claire Gagne.
Sandstead said he never has to talk the artists into it.
“They are all just extremely generous,” he said. “And I never turn anyone down, but I have made suggestions.”
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