TROY — Visitors to Troy’s downtown district can now observe the custom holiday/winter banners on display, which for the first time ever, were winning submissions for a banner contest held throughout the local school district.
Troy Main Street Executive Director Nicole Loy said the idea for the contest came about as it became clear that the city’s current banners had reached the end of their life cycle.
“We were told by the city that the banners we were using for the holiday and winter season were starting to get a little ragged,” Loy said. “We thought, ‘The Grand Illumination is a community event, so what could we do to represent the community better?’ We started to brainstorm, and one of the things we came up with was to just have a contest to see what the students of Troy could come up with. It’s turned out great.”
There were over 100 art submissions from students grades K-12 throughout the Troy City School district. All submissions were due on Monday, Oct. 1.
A selection committee, made up of staff from Troy Main Street, city of Troy, and various community individuals, looked at elementary and secondary school submissions separately. Each committee member chose their top three submissions for both categories, and those that overlapped made it to the finals of each round. Committee members then discussed amongst themselves which would be the best fit for a permanent banner.
“It was a pretty smooth process,” Loy said. “People tended to gravitate toward the same ones.”
The winners of the contest were Heywood Elementary third grader Braden Wagner and Troy Junior High eighth grader Olivia Johnston, whose entries prominently feature a snowman and a hot cup of coffee, respectively. Banners featuring their designs were hung throughout downtown Troy on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Braden and Olivia were both presented as winners of the contest during the Grand Illumination on Friday evening, receiving congratulations from Troy Mayor Mike Beamish, as well as their own copy of the banners now hanging in the square.
“We were supposed to draw something ‘winter, but not Christmas’,” said Braden. “The first thing I thought of was a snowman.”
Braden said he was “very happy” upon finding out about his win.
“I decided to do a coffee mug, because everyone in Troy seems to drink coffee,” Olivia said of her banner. “Coffee shops remind me a lot of winter. When it’s a cold day, you just want to go get a cup of coffee to feel warm.”
Of her win, Olivia said, “At first, I didn’t believe it. I was very surprised.”
All other submissions in the banner contest will be on display at the Mayflower Arts Center through the remainder of 2018.
“Some of the submissions were really fantastic, but maybe just didn’t fit a banner size,” Loy said. “Lisa Bauer at the Mayflower has worked alongside us to make sure those other works are displayed and available to be seen, and having them all there as a gallery is really neat.”
Braden and Olivia’s banners will be on display in downtown Troy for the rest of the holiday season.