On May 14, the city kicked off the Farmer’s Market season by announcing the winner of the reusable bag design contest, sponsored annually by COUNTRY Financial. Open exclusively to CPS high school students, the competition provides valuable exposure and scholarship funds to Chicago’s aspiring artists.
“During the last eight years, we’ve received more than 750 amazing entries, and the competition is always fierce,” said Vicki Nygren, agency manager for COUNTRY Financial. “Including this year’s awards, we’ve provided $16,000 in scholarships to Chicago’s young artists.”
Christopher Duran, a senior at Mather High School, took top honors this year, his design featuring a heart-shaped potato with the city skyline sprouting from the top amid a background of fruits and vegetables. In addition to having his artwork adorn thousands of reusable bags, this talented artist will receive a $1,000 college scholarship from COUNTRY Financial.
“I’m speechless, really,” said Christopher, who plans to study at The American Academy of Art this fall. “I wanted to showcase healthy eating and living in my design, but I didn’t expect to win.”
Christopher thanked his mother, Carmen Duran, who beamed with pride on the day of the announcement, and also gave credit to art teacher Jenny Brown, who has incorporated the annual contest into her curriculum at Mather.
“I’m elated that Christopher won because he is very deserving,” said Brown. “I support this contest, because it gives students a chance to work on a project with a client in mind, and the reusable bags benefit the environment.”
The 2015 runners-up were David Paredes, also of Mather, and Vicki Tan, a junior at Lincoln Park High School, each of whom received a $500 college scholarship.
“In this contest, we ask students to create based on what they see outside their doors and at their local farmers markets,” said Melissa Libert, public affairs and media relations project manager for COUNTRY Financial. “It is a chance for them to showcase what they love about their city,”