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New downtown banners are “a love letter to Juneau”

July 20, 2021 – FYI

Have you seen the new banners in Downtown Juneau? They were created by author and illustrator Sarah Asper-Smith as part of CBJ’s Downtown Streets Reconstruction Project. The banners highlight what makes Juneau unique and share the many voices of the community. Born and raised here, Asper-Smith describes the banners as “a love letter to Juneau.”

“I wanted to incorporate the different voices of Juneau in this project. I talked to different people around town about the idea, and got their feedback and thoughts. I tried to get a mixture of history and culture, the natural world, and the people of this place. I made [the banners] for Juneauites. I hope that these resonate with people here, and I hope that our visitors understand Juneau a little bit better after seeing them,” she said.

The 20 double-sided banners are hand-sewn out of a waterproof material. After being selected through a Call For Artist process, Asper-Smith worked with the CBJ art selection committee to bring the project to fruition. The committee included members from the Downtown Business Association, the Historic Resources Advisory Committee, Sealaska Heritage Institute, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, the Filipino Community, as well as a member from the public at large.

“Rico Worl gave me permission to use his formline artwork for the Lingít Aaní banner, and I really appreciate that collaboration. Lori Sowa shepherded the process and was great to work with, allowing the vision to come through. If I can give a shout out to the committee, especially Christianne Carrillo and Rachel Juzeler, I would love to say thank you. They believed in the project and truly made it happen,” Asper-Smith said.