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The Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture and the Gracie James Foundation have announced the sixth Youth Banners Initiative, for 2021. Every year, beginning in 2016, teens have been invited to submit designs for banners.

The commission invites invite students in grades six through 12 who live or attend school in Arlington to submit creative and thoughtful artwork for the banners. The theme this year is "Protest: Lifting Voices."

Those involved encourage you to think about being a voice for change: What do you wish to protect and to speak for? Possible subject include social, environmental and economic justice; as well as protection of the Earth and its wildlife. Here are the rules:

  • Students may submit only one entry;
  • Two panels each 12 inches high by 4 inches wide (for a total of 12 inches high by 8 inches wide); the composition can be across the two panels;
  • Any two-dimensional medium (painting, drawing, collage, etc.);
  • Write your name, email, school, grade and teacher on the back; and
  • Submit your hard-copy artwork and completed application form to:

Arlington High School, 869 Mass. Ave., Arlington, MA 02476

Attention: Dave Ardito

Entry deadline: Friday, Dec. 18.

A jury will select 20 artworks based on the following:

Interpretation of the theme;

Readability (since banners are viewed from a distance, we are looking for images that are bold and not overly detailed);

Craftsmanship; and


Students will be notified at the end of December. Artworks will be printed on vinyl banners, and hung along Mass. Ave. in Arlington Center next spring. Three students will be selected by the jury to receive a $200 scholarship prize. New this year: People’s Choice Award to be voted on, tallied and announced at the spring reception.

Questions? Contact Adria Arch at arlingtonyouthbanners at gmail.com.

Funding for this project has been provided by the Gracie James Foundation, which honors the life and memory of an Arlington student who died in 2010 after sustaining injuries in a car accident. 

Jan. 6, 2020: Whose banners will grace Mass. Ave.? 2020 winners announced

This news announcement was published Friday, Oct. 30, 2020.