What do the Salem Police Department, Roth’s Markets, bicycle shops, and local artists have in common? Interest in making Salem safer for everyone. It was this goal that prompted Britta Franz and Lorraine Dye, the artistic dynamo behind last summer’s fun and colorful “Bus Shelter Paint In,” to organize this summer’s volunteer safety awareness poster contest.
The “Save a Life WEAR BRIGHT AT NIGHT” poster contest was free and open to all ages. The goal was to raise awareness and encourage safe behavior during the summer when people are out later and children are out of school. In July entries were collected. In August Roth’s shoppers region wide received fliers in their bags with reproductions of the winning posters for putting on bulletin boards and home refrigerators. Also, 2000 “Save a Life WEAR BRIGHT AT NIGHT” bracelets were provided to the police for neighborhood night out gatherings.
Lorraine Dye points out that the issue of safety awareness is a continuing one. She reports that the Police will hand out glow in the dark bracelets with “Save a Life WEAR BRIGHT AT NIGHT” at their annual Police Halloween party. She also stresses that there is need to get the posters out in more places. “For the posters we are looking for a sponsor to help with the printing of more posters to be distributed around town…in business…schools….so basically every where. There is no end date to this program. But it is especially important now that school has started and the days are getting shorter.”
Winning images designed with a space on the bottom are available at the Ink Spot. Business are encouraged to order some posters and have their logo added.
The program is a great example of the power of local community organizing for an important shared cause. Posters were created by many volunteers from established artists to children. Local businesses including Roths and several bicycle shops assisted in getting the posters into the community. Artists in Action sponsored the contest and handled the printing. Maria Winner, a local artist, designed the contest flier, and the Salem Public Library served as a drop off point for entries. The Salem Police Department has been a strong supporter. Dye sums it up saying, “The whole idea is to make people aware when doing things at night and in the traffic. If this message saves one life we and the Police would be very happy. “ Supporting Safety with Salem Police …. Be Seen Be Safe””
What does the future hold for this program? Dye and Franz are dedicated to making sure people are reminded to be aware of safety. They hope in the future a connection might be set up with Cherriots. They also want to let people know that the “Save a life WEAR BRIGHT AT NIGHT” poster and bracelet combo is a unique opportunity to fit Safety Awareness into existing business advertising budgets, community events, and meeting programs. As Britta Franz points out “ Everybody is a pedestrian sometimes.”