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Area Artists Works Displayed on Street Signs

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By Cindy Watson –

Banning’s Christmas banner numbers reached a new high in 2010, with eleven new additions added to the permanent collection. The banners displayed in the downtown Banning area are the works of mostly local artists that volunteers their time and talents for the program.

You know Christmas is coming when you see the local streetlights beautifully decorated as you drive along Ramsey Street in down town Banning.

Along with the city's regular garland décor, festive holiday banners began lining the streets three years ago.

The Holiday Banner Program was started by the Alliance Mural Council as an extension of their regular annual banner display program.

Unlike the regular banner program these banners become part of a permanent collection to be displayed each year during the holidays.

Each year artists create the festive banners that can be seen along Ramsey from Eight Street to San Gorgonio Avenue in the heart of downtown Banning.

This year the new banners added to the collection brought the total to 29.

“I had a really wonderful time making it,” said Bette Jo De Grado, of her Madonna and child banner, hanging on the corner of Ramsey at San Gorgonio.

“I was first asked to do one of the regular banners, last spring,” she said making this her second banner.

“ The alliance supplies the banner,” she added.

“All year long I had been thinking about painting a Madonna and child,” said DeGrado, who chose to copy the “Madonna and Sleeping Child,” a painting by Italian artist Giovanni Battista Salvi “Sassoferrato” (1609-1685).

This year eleven new Christmas banners were added to the collection by artists: Marlene Johnson, Doris Collins, Sheila Bryan, Marilynn Hollis, Alice O'Neil, Ann Reese, Helen Searcy, Rosa Garcoigne, Lu Just, Betty Jo De Grado, and Jerry Searcy.

As the Banner soon come down they will appear again next year on the streets of downtown Banning with many new additions.

For more information on how you can paint a banner for the 2011 banner program go to banningculturalalliance.org or call (951) 849-3003.

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