Banners find place in plan to lure visitors downtown.

The anticipated unveiling of unique pieces of local art takes place tonight.

Since Garden City Downtown Vision launched its Banner Art program in 2008, local residents have looked forward to the one-of-a-kind offerings from local artists who add their designs to actual street banners.

The preview of this year's Banner Art collection is set for 5 to 7 tonight at the Downtown Vision office, 413 N. Main. Downtown Vision Executive Director Beverly Schmitz Glass described this year's banner collection as ranging from floral to robots to kayaks, and from whimsical to impressionistic approaches.

The two dozen painted banners were created by 22 artists, eight of whom are new to the banner art project.

After the banners adorn downtown light poles through late October, they will be removed and prepared for the Downtown Vision Banner Art Auction on Nov. 3 at the Clarion Ballroom. Proceeds benefit the artists and Downtown Vision.

Along with creating a nice opportunity for local artists, the annual program encourages anyone who takes in the street banners hanging along Main Street to also get a closer look at the interesting architecture of downtown buildings too often taken for granted.

As one of many initiatives of Downtown Vision (a National Trust Main Street program), the banner program helps make the historic downtown district a more appealing venue. Whether it's in window displays, good sidewalks or other features such as colorful street banners, the goal is to create an inviting atmosphere, and for good reason: Studies of consumer habits show spending increases when shopping districts improve their look.

It takes many initiatives to pull together a comprehensive revitalization strategy designed to ward off erosion and grow the downtown district.

Beyond creating a welcoming and attractive physical environment, Downtown Vision also organizes many good events, and continually pursues other strategies to draw more people downtown.

The series of Third Thursdays and coming Fall Fest that highlight shopping, food and entertainment would be a couple of timely examples.

Count the banner art program as yet another interesting endeavor that gives people a reason to check out downtown Garden City.