Courtesy of Cornell University

Sheri Guo ’22 in front of one of the Collegetown banners of her design. Guo was the winner of a contest administered by the student-run Medium Design Collective.

March 19, 2020

Sheri Guo ’22 Designs Banners Installed Around Collegetown

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Adding some color to the local community, banners designed by Sheri Guo ’22 have been installed around Collegetown, following an April 2019 competition hosted by the Collegetown Small Business Alliance.

Guo, an information science major and game design minor, came up with her banner design for the competition, whose aim was to support economic vitality in Collegetown and to beautify the neighborhood, according to a University press release.

The winning design had to showcase the identity of Collegetown and focus on Cornell students, small businesses and the city.

Guo’s design did just that. Her banner was inspired by what she considers a “nice day” at Cornell, when the campus is flooded with various people. The banners depict many different students and adults at Cornell, all wearing colorful outfits and all smiling.

“I think it’s one way to think about the diversity at Cornell and that good feeling people just have when they’re outside on the campus and on the sidewalks,” she said.

Guo was ultimately very pleased with the project, saying this was her first time doing public art.

“It’s pretty different from what I normally do and I’m really grateful for the opportunity,” she said.

Guo has many years of experience working in design, but her artistic outlet is usually through game design, so this project was out of her comfort zone, she explained.

The Collegetown Business Alliance was founded in 2013 by three business owners, Natalie Sweeney of Natalia’s Boutique, Marty Johnson of Uncle Marty’s Shipping Office and Annie Quach of the Hai Hong Restaurant. The owners founded the alliance to foster a better connection between campus and Collegetown.

“The University can’t promote individual businesses,” Johnson said in a 2013 interview with The Ithaca Times, “but they can promote a business alliance.”

The design project was also sponsored by the Tompkins County Beautification Program and the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce.

Johnson was impressed by the cooperation between the city, chamber, county, Cornell and the businesses involved, saying he was looking forward “to expanding on this collaborative approach to working together on making Collegetown more beautiful.”

Now that the project is over, Guo said she felt elated and will continue to work on game design and displaying her art on her website.