Courtesy of Collegetown Neighborhood Council

Submissions for the Collegetown Banner Competition will be open until April 16 at 11:55pm.

April 11, 2019

Collegetown Banner Contest Hopes to ‘Create Collegetown Brand and Identity’

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In hopes to bridge the Ithaca residential community and Cornell, the Collegetown Small Business Alliance will host a competition to design new light pole banners in Collegetown. The winning designs will be displayed on a minimum of 15 light poles for at least two years, according to the contest page.

The contest aims to create a sense of pride and involvement in the community, said Harrison Unruh ’19, a team member of the Cornell Medium Design Collective, in an interview with The Sun. 

According to evaluation criteria on the contest page, the new banners will seek to showcase the identity of Collegetown, focusing on Cornell students, small Ithaca businesses and the city itself. Successful banners will have designs that are timeless and do not include elements of design that may quickly go out or style, such as trendy fonts or colors.

The original idea for a contest was pitched by Tom Knipe, City of Ithaca Deputy Director for Economic Development and David Cutter, University Landscape Architect for Cornell University, at a meeting of the Collegetown Neighborhood Council at the Half Built event in early March — an event where members of the Cornell community gathered to share ideas for revitalizing underused spaces.

The Medium Design Collective, a multidisciplinary student group, agreed to lead a design competition to come up with a design for the banners.

In the past, Cornell students have contributed to local projects in the community, including the Student Infrastructure Fund, which contributed to the reimagining of Schwartz Plaza on College Avenue. Design Connect’s Project Eddy Gate also held a two-day “Tactical Urbanism” event to explore redevelopment ideas for the space around the historic Eddy Gate, Cutter said.

The Alliance has partnered with Cornell, along with Ithaca, the Tompkins County Beautification Program and the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce to host the contest. Representatives from participating groups will form a panel to select three winners who will be announced on May 6. For the top three places, there will be three cash prizes: $125 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place.

Anyone with a connection to Collegetown is eligible to submit a design for the contest — students, residents, and professionals — the contest website states.

The judges are looking for a design that easily showcases the Collegetown brand and connects the groups involved in the community, Unruh said, adding that the judges hope to inspire the community by crowdsourcing a design rather than hiring an artist.

Submissions are due by April 16 at 11:55 p.m., and will include a space for a written description of the piece. Banners must be one-sided and display the word “Collegetown,” and details can be found on the contest website.