The city has selected five winning art pieces in its Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest, which intends to put art in unoccupied storefronts.
The contest, run by the Community Development Department (CDD) and Cambridge Arts, is part of the city’s multi-year retail strategic plan. The CDD will make digital files of each artwork available for property owners to print and highlight in their storefronts.
“Property owners and brokers could download the files and print it at a local printer, either as interior to the window on boards, or as a building wrap,” Economic Development Director Lisa Hemmerle told Scout in January when the contest was announced. “From a pedestrian perspective, when you have that continuation of street activation, whether it’s artwork or an active storefront with people going in and out, that really adds to the quality of the experience, versus, say, brown paper in a window.”
The winning art pieces are: “Autumn Leaves, Bare Branches” by Judith Motzkin, “People’s Republik in Snowstorm” by Karl Baden, “Place of Peace” by Deidre Tao, “Windows of Cambridge” by Malia Edney, and “Woman in Blue” by Shane Taremi.
Edney, a first-year graphic design student at Lesley University, created her piece to capture the feeling she got when moving to Cambridge from a town near Pennsylvania.
“I wanted to do something that made me think about what made Cambridge different from other places,” she says. “I remember, the first time coming here, I was so shocked by the buildings, because they’re all so different and they’re all these crazy colors, and I’d never seen something like that before. So the project stemmed from that—my amazement, and the beauty of the buildings.”
The windows featured in her artwork are near her walk to school—those of homes in Porter and along Mass Ave.
“I really hope that people can recognize some of the windows and be able to connect with the piece,” she says.
The winners were chosen from more than 400 submissions of various mediums. A jury narrowed down the entries to 13 semi-finalists based on several criteria, including the work’s “connection to Cambridge” and how pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers would be able to view the artwork, according to the city. Cantabrigians then voted on their favorites of the semi-finalists.
The five winners will each receive $1,000.