Black History Month Banners

The banners on Congress Avenue looking toward the Texas State House in Austin  

In late October 2003, I received a call from Cindy Goldman, Associate Creative Director for Kolar Advertising & Marketing in Austin, Texas. She was looking for an artist to illustrate two large banners commemorating local authors Ada DeBlanc Simond and Dr. John Mason Brewer for Black History Month in February 2004. Her client was the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (ACVB). Multiples of the two banners, 30”x84” each, were to be displayed up and down Congress Avenue which leads to the state Capitol Building. The artwork would also be used on brochures for the opening ceremonies and bookmarks, which were distributed to the elementary schools in Austin.

I was then contacted by Drew Holmgreen, Senior Account Executive at Kolar, who sent me a couple books by the authors. I ordered a couple more on-line so I could get a sense of what their writing was like. The authors being not well known outside of Texas, it was difficult finding good quality reference photographs of them. On November 24, Kolar and the ACVB enthusiastically accepted my sketches. I delivered the paintings in early December and everyone was very pleased. Cindy designed the typographic elements. The artwork was scanned and output to a large-format color printer, 100 dpi at 100%.

The unveiling ceremony was held on February 13, 2004 at the LBJ Library and Museum. In attendance were relatives of the authors, as well as Travis County Judge Samuel T. Biscoe, Mayor Will Wynn, Director of the LBJ Library Betty Sue Flowers and others, including a gospel choir! Unfortunately, I couldn’t be at the event but on February 17th I flew down to Austin and photographed the banners. It was my first visit to Texas and I found Austin to be a delightful city with great music and restaurants. In fact, the whole project was enjoyable from start to finish.


© 2011 Alan Witschonke