Positivity breeds a certain energy, one that ignites optimism and innovation. This is the philosophy of the Character First Initiative, which the Aiken City Council approved in 1999 to support community strengthening programs such as employee training based on a monthly character trait. The Aiken Downtown Development Association (ADDA), in collaboration with the Joint Women’s Club, is introducing a new perspective to Aiken’s Character First Initiative by freshening the design of the blue character trait banners that have, since 1999, been displayed throughout historic downtown and other parts of Aiken.
Local artist Linda Hunley was commissioned to create a lively series of banners entitled “Seasons of Character.” She and Schofield Middle School English teacher Sally Jenkins selected 12 traits representing a full spectrum of virtues—such as responsibility, kindness and gratitude—and separated them into groups of three traits that connect to the spirit of each of the four seasons. Having a combination of bright, color-coordinated seasonal banners and accompanying character trait banners will bring vitality and surprise to Aiken’s streetscapes while celebrating the character message in a dynamic way.
The city has purchased enough seasonal banners for the Laurens and Richland intersection; however, the ADDA and the Joint Women’s Club are heading up the Seasonal Character Banner Fundraising Project so that banners can, at the least, be purchased for all downtown intersections.