BFK’s Public Bike Art Prize

BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration 2020 will be held on the third weekend in September, 2020 (Sept. 18-20, 2020).  Go to our BIKEREG site to register for the RIDE, which will take place on Sunday Sept. 20, 2020.  

In the meantime, most of the information below applies to 2019.  If we hold the Bike Art Prize in 2020 it will be due to the generosity of our sponsors.  The rules will also be amended to expand the scope of who may enter.

Online Popular voting for the 2019 Bike Art Prize is now closed. The final vote tabulation was made public during the Public Bike Art Prize Ceremony beginning 2pm on Sunday afternoon. Out of respect for the artists, the Chair of the Jury Committee asks us to moderate or close off comments on specific pieces if they appear on our Facebook page.

You may click HERE to see the winning entries. Technical considerations affect the sizes you see at any given time, on various devices.

The deadline for all submissions in BFK’s Public Bike Art Prize 2019 competition was September 5, 2019 at 11:59ET.

Note to artists: Please make sure all entry materials you have submitted are complete.

The Prize was first announced on August 15; the version below dates from August 26, 2019.

Bike Friendly Kalamazoo (BFK), together with arts organizations throughout greater Kalamazoo, is hosting a public art competition to select street banner art intended for display on municipal street lamp posts in 2020 and into the future as part of a campaign to celebrate and encourage bicycling.  Award of the prize(s) is the culminating event on Sunday during BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration Weekend, September 20-22, 2019. The digital format for entries makes this an ideal competition for desktop artists or artists in any medium who can render their work digitally per the specifications that follow. The deadline for all submissions is September 5.

There is no fee to enter. All entrants are to submit their bicycle-themed street banners digitally, all of which will be posted online for two classes of awards: Juried and PopularJuried awards shall be decided by a Jury Committee composed of art representatives, municipal representatives and members of BFK’s Bike Art Prize Committee. First, Second and Third place cash prize winners will be selected by the Jury Committee.  Jury-awarded cash prizes are:  First Place: $1,000, Second Place:  $500, and Third Place: $250.  Popular awards shall be determined by online vote (and in person by eligible participants on September 21). Popular award recipients will receive the recognition of winning the public popular vote, plus token honoraria.  Please see below for further information.

A major goal of BFK’s Bike Art Prize is to increase the display of art works, specifically bike-related pieces that BFK believes will increase support for bicycling.  Funds raised through the sale of art submitted in this competition will support causes such as improved bicycling safety, education & awareness-building and increased ridership. BFK is a 501c3 Michigan nonprofit corporation with a network of volunteers drawn from throughout the greater Kalamazoo Metropolitan Planning Organization, working to make our entire community more bicycle friendly.


  • Typical sizing for street banners is 30”x94” and 18”x36” – submit your artwork in both size proportions.
  • Artwork must be high resolution (at least 300ppi) – resolution guidance will be provided if requested.
  • The street banner must be bicycle themed.
  • The background colors can be any color, including white.
  • A 6” top and 6” bottom to the banner is to contain color, but no design.
  • The designs can bleed onto the sides – a frame is not necessary.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you must have a parent/guardian’s permission to participate.
  • Entrants will retain copyright in contest entries; via their submission entrants grant Bike Friendly Kalamazoo unlimited rights to use the artwork submitted to advance BFK’s charitable purposes.
  • The juried component of this Public Bike Art Prize event is described below.
  • Artwork submitted shall be the registrant’s original work, which the registrant attests to in submitting the entry.


To register for BFK’s Bike Art Prize, entrants must submit their artwork, using the official online Entry Submission Form (which is now out of date but being retained here for a bit longer as an example). Due to various limitations, entrants must fill out the form, print it out and convert it into electronic format to submit, together with a total of four digital artwork files: one for each of the two banner sizes and two required file formats: EPS and PDF. Email the five files to the email address listed at the bottom of the form.  IMPORTANT: include the with the Title of your piece in the Subject line, using a separate email for each separately Titled piece submitted.  Artwork received will be uploaded separately to the Fall Bike Celebration website for review and voting. Please allow a few days for our tech wizards to do so; our process is somewhat manual.

Registrants should*:

  1. reside within Kalamazoo County, or within the townships/villages located in Almena, Antwerp, Paw Paw or Waverly townships in Van Buren County, Michigan; and,
  2. own or use a bicycle, or have an immediate family member who owns or uses a bicycle.
    *Comment: “should” may be interpreted loosely by the Jury in the case of item 1; for example, one consideration may be whether the art captures the spirit of bicycling in Southwest Michigan. In 2020 these requirements will be substantially lifted.

Juried Awards will be chosen by the Jury Committee.

Juried Award cash prizes are:
1st Place               $1,000
2nd Place              $500
3rd Place               $250

There is a People’s Choice Award vote (Popular) component of the event – online, voters and participants can cast two votes for personal favorites.  The two top popular vote getters will receive First and Second Place awards.  People’s Choice and any additional Popular awards will be honorific, but will receive token monetary honoraria. Every effort will be made to promote the submissions and encourage online viewing and voting. 

All cash prizes, honorable mentions and honoraria will be awarded through a Jury Committee (members to be announced in August) and this committee will review the work based on criteria as per the following broad guidelines.  In September, these guidelines may further be clarified by the Jury Committee as they deem best.  

  1. Bicycle theme – use of “bicycle art” is part of the creative design; one or more bicycles (or portions thereof) must be evident.
  2. Use of color – colors selected and the background must be engaging and complementary from typical viewing distances when displayed on lampposts and similar mountings.
  3. Print integrity – artwork must be print-able on both sized banners (as outlined above)
  4. Municipal interest – the piece must appeal to municipal representatives from a practical perspective as worthy of purchase and subsequent public display.


The submission deadline for all entries is midnight, Thursday, September 5.  All artwork must be submitted before the deadline.  The Popular online voting period will be from September 8-11, during which time, the community will vote [NOTE: See UPDATE above.]  The Jury Committee will review juried art submissions during the week of September 16.  (It is possible that additional “fun” categories may be added, such as a Cyclist’s Choice Award on Saturday, September 21 as part of the Fall Bike Celebration events.)  Popular awards, such as the People’s Choice Award and any others will be determined by online voting and via Fall Bike Celebration Event day (September 21) ballots.  All winners will be announced on September 22 at a public ceremony, with the venue to be announced in September.  The announcement will be communicated through social and other media as well as an email to entrants.


The banners are intended for municipal display.  Municipalities could include, but are not limited to:  Kalamazoo, Portage and Vicksburg at times of their choosing.  The winning art will be rendered onto about 20 street banners (sponsored by Consort Display Group) in quantities roughly corresponding to their awards.  The awarded artwork is the property of Bike Friendly Kalamazoo and will be used for the printing of banners and/or posters to advance Bike Friendly Kalamazoo’s charitable mission, not for-profit. 

Entries will be judged without knowledge of the entrants’ identity. The Jury Committee reserves the right to certify all voting and to award fewer than the announced number and type of prizes depending on the entries received.  Current Jury Committee employees and their immediate families are not eligible to submit an Entry. All Jury Committee decisions are final. These rules are subject to change without notice. 

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