Youth under 18 can submit designs for the Intercity 'Yard Sign Art Challenge' now through December 31, 2020. Photo courtesy: Intercity Transit

Rainy weather is forcing us all indoors a bit more, and with new restrictions, it might be hard to think of things to keep your kids occupied. Intercity Transit can help with that! Their Walk N Roll program is partnering with the Target Zero Thurston Task ForceSafe Kids Thurston County, State Farm and the Olympia Police Department on a Yard Sign Art Challenge. Kids under the age of 18 can design slogans and artwork for new traffic safety signs that will be distributed throughout neighborhoods in Olympia.

“We hope the signs encourage drivers to slow down, making our roads safer for youth walking and rolling in our community,” shares Kerri Wilson, youth education specialist & employee transportation coordinator for Intercity Transit, Walk N Roll program. “We felt that the message was more powerful if it came from the youth in our community. We also hope that having kids design the sign will get them thinking about traffic safety as young drivers.”

Intercity Transit’s Walk N Roll program “partners with schools and community organizations to offer activities that educate and encourage youth to walk, bike and take the bus.” Normally they have Walk N Roll events each year that highlight finding alternate ways to get to school as well as road safety. With COVID-19 cancelling all these events, and kids not commuting to school right now, the Yard Sign Art Challenge is a great way to give youth something to do that gets them thinking about road safety for when they do return to the streets.

Inspired by similar programs in Portland and Denver, these signs are centered around school zone safety. “The goal is to encourage drivers to slow down for people walking, rolling and riding in neighborhoods surrounding schools,” shares Intercity Transit.

With their normal Walk N Roll activities cancelled, 2020 was a perfect time to roll out a new sign contest that would get kids thinking about traffic safety. Photo courtesy: Intercity Transit

Thurston County Youth have until December 31, 2020 to submit their designs. Here are the rules:

  • No more than four colors
  • 24 x 18 inches
  • All art mediums are acceptable, if the entry can be submitted digitally as high-resolution JPG file.
  • All graphics of people rolling (for example: biking or skateboarding) must wear a helmet.
  • Text and graphics must be visible to drivers passing by.
  • Each sign needs to include one of the following slogans:
    • “Drive slowly for a safer Oly”
    • “Safe Drivers = Good Neighbors”
    • “Save lives, not seconds”

“Youth can submit one or multiple designs,” explains Wilson. “There are three slogans for them to choose from. These slogans were selected through a community survey last spring.”

Once all entries are submitted, a winner will be selected based on creativity and relevancy to the theme. The winner will receive a $50 gift card and will have their work displayed on over 1,000 signs in yards throughout several neighborhoods in Olympia.

Youth under 18 can submit designs for the Intercity ‘Yard Sign Art Challenge’ now through December 31, 2020. Photo courtesy: Intercity Transit

The contest is funded by a grant through State Farm Insurance. While this year’s contest is focusing on Olympia neighborhoods, Intercity Transit is hoping to grow the project if it goes well. “If the pilot project goes well and we receive positive feedback from the community, we will consider applying for future grants to expand,” says Wilson. “We would consider expanding to other neighborhoods in Thurston County where youth are walking and rolling.”

Once the signs have been made, they will be distributed free of charge to community members living in school zones and neighborhoods where kids are walking and rolling. To submit a design entry, email a JPG of your sign to by December 31, 2020. For more information, please visit the Intercity Transit website. 

So, grab those art supplies – or tablets! – and let your kids get their creative juices flowing. It’s a fun art project that will help make our neighborhoods safer for walking and rolling all year long!

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