Student Artwork to Brighten Farmers Markets 

Mather student creates winning design in annual art competition

May 15, 2014

As they visit the Farmers Markets this year, thousands of Chicagoans will glimpse the artwork of CPS student David Paredes.


A sophomore at Mather High School, David is the 2014 winner of the reusable bag design contest sponsored by COUNTRY Financial – an annual art competition open exclusively to CPS students. His winning design will be featured on limited edition canvas bags to be distributed at Chicago Farmers Markets throughout the season.


“I’m so happy,” said David, who seemed overwhelmed by the recognition. “I was already excited to have made it into the top three finalists. I never expected to win.”


With a backdrop of Chicago skyscrapers, David’s artwork depicts a wide array of produce with a farmer’s hand working in the soil.


“David’s design captures the essence of the markets,” said Mike Fisher of COUNTRY Financial. “Local farmers growing locally-produced fruits and vegetables and then offering them up to market goers.”


The winning design was announced at Daley Plaza, the site of the official opening for Chicago’s Farmers Markets. A thousand bags with David’s design were given away at this event, with an additional 10,000 to be handed out at various markets over the coming months. He was accompanied to the announcement event by his art teacher, Mr. Danny Mendoza, who cheered louder than anyone on hand when his student’s name was called.


“Mr. Mendoza was the one who inspired me to enter the contest,” said David. “He told me he thought I could do it, so I decided to try. I’m lucky to have him and so many other people supporting me.”


In addition to having his artwork published, David was awarded a $1,000 college scholarship by COUNTRY Financial. Runners-up Francesca Cedro and Alejandro Gomez, both students at Lincoln Park High School, also received scholarships in the amount of $500.


COUNTRY Financial has sponsored the reusable bag design contest for 7 years, and has awarded $14,000 in scholarships to CPS students during that time.


David’s design and the artwork of other finalists can be seen at



Page Last Modified on Thursday, May 15, 2014