The Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) is seeking artists to submit artwork designs for new street pole banners located in downtown Iowa City. All designs should embrace the theme of “Native Iowan: Flora, Fauna, Landscapes, Species”. Twenty-three banner designs will be selected with a $110 stipend awarded per selected banner design. 

Guidelines for Submittals:

  • The banner theme is “Native Iowan: Flora, Fauna, Landscapes, Species” 
  • The finished banners are 30”x86” inches and hang vertically
  • Selected artwork will be professionally printed digitally on a high-quality vinyl banner
  • Designs should be suitably bold as to be visible from a distance 
  • Designs should include at least one color (as opposed to only black and white)
  • Any text should be minimal, and cannot include: names of businesses, products or commercial aspects. If using text, keep in mind that letters need to be large to be legible
  • Portraits of specific individuals are discouraged. If images of real living people are included, the artist must obtain a release from these people for the images to be used in this way. The artist must also obtain all releases necessary for text or poetry.
  • Designs must comply with regulations set forth by the City of Iowa City’s Banner System Regulations. Designs may not include: 
    • Advertising or commercial promotions
    • Political advertising for candidates or issues
    • Solicitations for fundraising or charitable contributions
    • Religious holidays or events
    • Expressions of opinions or beliefs
    • Works containing controversial images that are offensive in nature will not be accepted

To Apply: 

  • Submit your artwork via this link, no later than March 1st. 
  • Artists may submit up to 4 designs.
  • Submissions must be in a high-quality PDF format.
  • All designs must be formatted according to the banner template
  • All submissions must include a complete entry form.
  • A completed Signed Permission Statements and Release Forms will be required at the submission of artwork.
    •  If works contain text, a signed statement stating that: 1) You, the artist, own the copyright, or 2) the text is in the public domain, or 3) that you have contacted the copyright holder and they have given you a written agreement that you have permission to use the text; the written agreement must be provided along with the submission.
    • Signed release forms and contact information must be included if works contain models, specific persons, or portraits of individuals.
    • If the artist is under the age of 18, the permission statement must also be signed by a parent or guardian.

Selection Process: 

The Iowa City Downtown District selection committee will review all proposals received by the deadline. The committee reserves the right to reject any and all submissions. 

The following criteria will be used for evaluating and selecting designs: 

1) Is the design engaging and high quality in concept?

2) Is the image interesting and unique?

3) Does the image work within the concept of the theme?

4) Does the image draw in the viewer and provoke positive community ideals?

All selected artists will be notified no later than March 5th via email. All selected artists will receive a $110 stipend per design selected. Artists can be chosen for up to 4 different designs. 

All winning artwork becomes property of the Iowa City Downtown District, with credit given to the artist. Final artwork will be printed in consultation with selected artists. The Iowa City Downtown District will cover all costs for printing and installing banners.


Applications open | January 28, 2020

Application closes midnight | March 1, 2020

Artist/Artwork Selected | March 5, 2020

Banners Installed | May 18, 2020

Betsy Potter, Director of Creative Services