Local students’ work showcased on new Downtown street banners

As you drive through Downtown Bettendorf you’ll notice some streetlight banners are adding new pops of color and showing off the creativity of two local high school students and the Downtown Bettendorf Organization (DBO).

During the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, DBO Executive Director Ryan Jantzi was brainstorming for ways to spruce up the downtown core when decided to launch a banner design contest. “I wanted to add some color and break up the urban jungle we have here,” said Jantzi, who reached out to Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley high schools’ art programs to recruit contestants.

Last spring, the two schools submitted six student-created designs from which the DBO board selected one winning design per school. The winners were: Julie Trembley, then a BHS junior, and Quinn Russell, a PV senior at the time. The DBO awarded $1,000 to each high school to use either to boost their graphic design departments or award as a scholarship. Bettendorf awarded Trembley with a scholarship.

The banners were produced by Riverbend Signworks, a Bettendorf company owned by Brad Morrison. As an added perk, the students had the opportunity to job shadow Riverbend’s graphic designers, who helped them improve their designs so they could be transformed into full-color, vinyl banners.

The DBO board also commissioned a third banner design that features a sunrise glistening over a patch of green grass. Created by Auggi Jimenez, Creative Director at Riverbend, the design represents a new dawn for Downtown Bettendorf, Jantzi said. The three styles of banners – 60 total — were installed this summer and hang proudly throughout the downtown’s core.

“One of the goals is to help foster community pride and I think these banners hit the mark,” Jantzi said.