By Michael J. Billoni
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce challenges all Island students from grades 6 through 12 to create a cartoon map depicting local businesses. Prizes will be awarded to the top three maps in the contest supported by the Grand Island Historical Society, Grand Island Schools Business Alliance (GISBA) and the Orange Poppy Art Studio.
Applications are available on the www.gichamber.com and the www.wnypapers.com websites. The Chamber of Commerce will also host a drive-up map application pickup from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, at its office at 1870 Whitehaven Road. The first 50 artists will receive small drawstring totes with no more than three application pickups per car.
The deadline for the completed maps is Thursday, May 27, and the winning student will receive a $600 check and a large basket filled with gifts from Island businesses. The runner-up will receive a $200 check and a medium basket filled with gifts, and the third-place award winner will receive a $100 check and a small gift basket. The three winners will also receive award ribbons to display on their winning maps.
The winning maps will be selected during a map showcase where members of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Grand Island Central School District leaders and Grand Island Historical Society members will judge them. The winning maps will then be displayed on an art tour at multiple sites across the Island in June.
Stacey Watt, a Chamber of Commerce board member and chair of the event, said any students wishing to participate who may need inspiration or assistance in creating their map should feel free to visit the Orange Poppy Art Studio, 1990 Whitehaven Road. The studio will also schedule map open house events for students to receive professional artistic assistance in creating their masterpiece. Visit www.orangepoppyartstudio.com for details.
“We are counting on the creativity and innovative spirit of our students to make this an amazing competition. The goal is to create a map that will inspire our Grand Island community and celebrate all that makes our Island the ‘Grandest’ place to live, work, play, eat, have fun and own a business!” said Eric Fiebelkorn, president of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce.
Watt said the Chamber board selected this project as a way to showcase business members who have endured challenges through the long COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even in the face of a global pandemic, the spirit of our community has remained strong, and our neighbors made a conscious decision to buy local and stay local to keep our businesses alive,” she said. “To celebrate this monumental effort, and the work of our entire community, we sincerely want to showcase the members of our Chamber of Commerce. We could think of no one better way than inviting our Grand Island students to depict the busy life on Grand Island by showcasing our Island businesses through art!”
•DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION HERE (PDF)