BFK’s Public Bike Art

BREAKING NEWS!  In 2022 we will be holding a Bike Mural Festival.  The muralists and their work will be recognized during the 2022 Fall Bike Celebration Weekend.  We continue to spread the joy of bicycling far and wide in expressions of public art!  Please click here for our January 13 Media Release.

The rest of this page will be updated as additional Bike Mural Festival details unfold. In the meantime it pertains to our Public Bike Art Competition in 2021. Stay tuned.

Bike Friendly Kalamazoo (BFK) held our Public Bike Art Competition in 2021, thanks to a generous grant from The Vicksburg Foundation.  A gallery of the winning works in 2021, together with the backgrounds of the artists, is now officially open HERE.  

The competition opened July 14; the deadline for entries was September 2, 2021 at 11:59ET for all submissions.  The Village of Vicksburg Michigan has great respect for the arts.  On behalf of the Village of Vicksburg and our generous sponsors, we thank all the artists from around the United States for their submissions.

UPDATE (October 28, 2021): In addition to $1,750 in Juried Awards, due to the high quality of the entries submitted in 2021 we added one Honorable Mention and one President’s Award winner.  A gallery of the winning works, together with the backgrounds of the artists is now officially open HERE.  

Please take a look at the gallery of winning entries to see what we mean by “bike art” — we are talking about two-dimensional artistic expressions (rather than artfully designed or delightfully decorated bicycles).  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Overview (This section and what follows is from 2021’s Bike Art Competition)
Bike Friendly Kalamazoo (BFK), together with patrons of the arts throughout greater Kalamazoo, is hosting a public art competition to select art intended for public display that celebrates the joys and benefits of bicycling.  Announcement of the winning entries will be one of the highlights of BFK’s Fall Bike Celebration Weekend during the third weekend of September. The digital format for entries makes this an ideal competition for desktop artists or artists in any medium who can render their work digitally.

There is no fee to enter. All entrants are to submit their bicycle-themed artwork digitally, with winning entries to be displayed online. The Juried awards shall be decided by a Jury Committee composed of art, municipal and civic representatives who comprise BFK’s Bike Art Competition 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. 

A major goal of BFK’s Public Bike Art Competition is to increase the public display of artistic works that we believe will increase public appreciation of and support for bicycling.  Funds we hope to raise through the sale of art submitted in this competition will support causes such as improved bicycling safety, education & awareness-building and increased ridership. We believe art has the power to enhance the sheer joy of bicycling!

What follows are BFK’s Public Bike Art Competition Official Rules and guidelines. Please read the answers to common questions, as well.


  • The art must express the joys of bicycling.
  • Typical sizing for street banners is 30” x 94” and 18” x 36;” typical sizing for other formats is 11″ x 11″ and 11.5″ x 14″ – submit your art in ALL four specific size proportions.
  • Entrants may enter the competition once, using versions of the same idea for all sizes.
  • Artwork must be high resolution (at least 300ppi) – resolution; limited guidance may be provided to achieve this if requested.
  • The background colors can be any color, including black or white.
  • A 6” top and 6” bottom to the large banner sizes is to contain color, but no design.  The other sizes are “edge to edge.”
  • The designs can bleed onto the sides – a visual frame is not necessary.
  • Entrants will retain copyright in contest entries; via their submission entrants grant Bike Friendly Kalamazoo unlimited rights to use and sell the artwork submitted, rendered in any medium, to advance BFK’s charitable purposes.
  • Artwork submitted shall be the entrant’s original work, which the entrant attests in writing to, by virtue of submitting the entry.
  • Designs containing unoriginal emblems, logos or including/promoting an organization or service will not be considered.
  • Current Jury Committee, their employees and their immediate families are not eligible to submit an Entry.


To register for BFK’s Public Bike Art Competition, entrants must submit their artwork using the Official Entry Form. Entrants must print out, complete and sign the Form, and convert it into electronic format to submit, together with a total of eight digital artwork files rendering the same essential theme: one for each of the two banner sizes AND one for each of the two smaller sizes, and each of those four sizes in two required file formats: PDF and PNG. Email the files to the email address listed at the bottom of the form.  IMPORTANT: Include the Title of your piece in the Subject line.  You may use use a separate email for each file submitted if you need to, say, due to file size restrictions. Do not submit the files in a link to a file storage website.  Attach your Official Entry Form to every email which contains attached artwork.  You may compress a file or submit it in smaller proportions consistent with the required dimensions, as long as the PDF format allows scaling.  Entries submitted in the form of a link to another web site will not be considered.  Artwork received will be shared with the Jury for review and voting. 

Entrants must:

  1. reside within the United States of America (USA) and be a US Citizen 18 years of age or older;
  2. use an email service with a domain registered within the USA.

Note to artists: Please make sure all entry materials you have submitted are complete. Please reply quickly to communications you receive related you entries. 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 own Facebook page. Communication with the judges or sponsors is not encouraged unless they reach out to you. One Title (Entry) is permitted per entrant; reasonable variations are permitted to accommodate the four dimensional size requirements.

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

All cash prizes, honorable mentions and honoraria, etc., will be finalized and awarded through a Jury Committee who will review the work based on the Rules and per the following broad guidelines.  These broad guidelines may further be clarified by the Jury Committee as they deem best to facilitate their work and are subject to change without notice.  

  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, for example, when displayed on lampposts and similar mountings.
  3. Print integrity – artwork must be print-able in each of the specified sizes (as outlined above)
  4. Appeal – the piece must appeal to municipal & commercial representatives from a practical perspective as worthy of purchase and public display.


The artwork is intended to be seen by the public.  The awarded artwork will be used by BFK for the printing of banners and/or other items to advance Bike Friendly Kalamazoo’s mission as a non-profit public charity. 

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

Questions & Answers.
The following are not part of the Rules & Guidelines but are worth careful consideration.
Q: How can a piece be submitted that is both rectangular and square at the same time?
A: The different proportions can be derivatives of the same essential design such as a cropped portion of a larger work, part of a repeating pattern or derivatives that rearrange the same essential elements. Try enlarging the field surrounding what started as a square. These are just examples — use your imagination!
Q: May artwork be created in a non-digital medium but then rendered digitally?
A: Yes. Please keep in mind that only digital submissions will be considered as artwork.
Q: What happens to submissions that are too large to be shared digitally?
A: Generally, file sizes larger than 15MB (megabytes) cannot be shared with all the jury or opened.
Q: I’ve created one work, so I submitted just one email and one of the sizes in my application. Is that okay?
A: Please see the official entry form and the Rules & Guidelines above for the number and types of files to be submitted. All are required.
Q: Will I get a chance to correct problems in my submission?
A: Artists whose submissions are technically incomplete may or may not be asked or permitted to correct them. Submissions may be disqualified with or without notice.
Q: You mention that technical advice might be given regarding files sizes. Do you have any suggestions?
A: File sizes may be reduced via common compression techniques. The PNG files will be used for displaying the artwork in our online gallery and “zipping” them may be a viable option. PDF files saved as scaleable images need not physically be rendered in the finished sizes mentioned above; their corresponding proportions may be technically satisfactory.
Q: Why are you asking to retain unlimited rights to use and sell the artwork submitted, rendered in any medium, to advance BFK’s charitable purposes?
A: Please keep in mind that the artists retain all the copyrights to their work, including the rights to use and sell their works. As a small all-volunteer non-profit, we feel this is a fair balance in light of the large obvious expenses we incur in our cash awards and social media expenses we are already incurring to advance our charitable purposes.

Please Share and Like our Bike Art Prize posting on Facebook @fallbikecelebration


Please email entries and contact us for more information using the email address on our entry form.

A media release announcing the opening of BFK’s Public Bike Art Competition in 2021 is HERE.

It was a lot of fun to talk with WKZO Morning Show host Ken Lanphear on opening day of BFK’s Public Bike Art Competition, Wednesday July 14! You can hear a replay of the interview with BFK’s Paul Selden as his guest HERE.

A gallery of the winning contestants from 2020 is HERE. Technical considerations affect the sizes you see at any given time on various devices.