The competition was initiated by Grand Street BID President Artineh Havan as a way to bring holiday cheer to her business district, while also giving students from local high schools a chance to interact creatively with local business.
“We came up with the idea last year. The reason we did this is because we envisioned people walking around on Grand Street,” Havan said. “Since we don’t have anything to congregate – any holiday tree lighting or anything – I thought it would be great to decorate windows.”
Twelve local businesses on Grand Street between Lorimer and Humboldt streets participated in this year’s competition, with the winning displays located at Dr. Diogenes Almonte’s office at 608 Grand Street and Sisto Pharmacy at 675 Grand Street.
An addition to last year’s competition format was the addition of a pair of professional judges whose votes weighed a little heavier than the public vote, according to Havan.
The judges were Bruce Ramsay, creative director for CSP Business Media, and Lisa Summa, who teaches art at P.S. 34 and sits on the board of Arts@Renaissance.
Voters and judges alike were asked to make their decision based on originality, execution and attention to detail, as well as how they tied their design into the theme of their local business.
From Progress High School, the students involved in design and execution of the Sisto Pharmacy display entitled “Grand Aid” were Elsa Campos, Alejandra De La Rosa, Joseph Rosado, Jose Morales, Ashante Robertson, Justin Vasquez, Victor Bravo, Cody King, Elda Monterroso and Estephany Colon.
The Progress students design, according to teacher Daisy Schiff, was inspired by holiday displays in Manhattan and by Sisto Pharmacy’s purpose and location.
From the Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design with their “New Snow City” display at Dr. Diogenes Almonte’s office were students Shechem Scatt, Exequiel Gimenez, Alexandra Ortiz, Marjorie Vargas-Matue, Freddy Ruiz and Jesus Juarez.
One of their teachers of the Williamsburg students, Pia Moos, said that there were many other students and teachers involved in the “New Snow City” design – which was explored in paper cut-outs, 3-D cardboard models and AutoCAD.
Each of the teachers said that their students were very excited to have their artwork on display in the local community.
“It was great just watching them plan this out and execute such a cool space,” said Schiff. “The fact that it was out there in the public upped the pride and excitement for them.“
Moos added that, “It’s just the best. It kind of breaks down the barrier between the school and the community.”
Both teams of students will receive $100 gift cards from Artist and Craftman Supply on Metropolitan Avenue.