Riverview Gallery artists painting art banners to be hung on light posts around Independence Oregon

The year 2001 saw Independence, Oregon add new sidewalks and lamp posts to its Historic Main Street. Soon after that the City wanted some banners with a warm and welcoming image to brighten up those historic lamp posts. They knew that the commercially-available banners would risk making Independence look like every other small town.

They wanted something original, unique.

River Gallery with its reservoir of creative talent was and is still located on Main Street right in the middle of that recently enhanced part of town. So naturally they enlisted the artists of River Gallery to hand paint 27 original banners on canvas with images to illustrate the story and spirit of this Mid-Willamette Valley town.

As the town grew, the demand for more original banners grew. The gallery artists created additional banners for the Cinema Block and parking lot.

A hand painted banner of musicians hanging on a streetlight
Hand painted banner of cycler
A hand painted banner of gardeners nourishing their vegetable gardens

That was nearly 20 years ago. Time and technology moved right along. The first taking its toll on the banners; the latter coming to the rescue. The original banners had served well but the rain of Oregon Winters and the long sunny days of Summer weren’t kind to those cloth banners. It was obvious that the banners needed to be replaced and the city still preferred original artwork.

River Gallery to the rescue. By photographing the original paintings that were on the tattered and faded banners and taking them into a photo editing computer application, they were converted into images that could be printed on sturdy, weather resistant vinyl material. Forty-four of the original images were saved and transformed this way.

The town is growing. With the development of the Riverfront and the addition of Osprey Lane more lamp posts have been added. River Gallery has been called upon once again to create new images for new banners for the additional lamp posts.

A total of 71 banners with original images now adorn the downtown streets of
Independence. For a visual treat, take a walking (or driving) tour of the downtown. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy both Art And History.

This story was written by River Gallery partner Carol Chapel