Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest

Contest Description

CDD and Cambridge Arts are looking for original artwork -- from paintings and prints to photographs and graphic designs -- that can be reproduced and used for temporary window displays for vacant ground floor storefronts. The goal of the project is to have a variety of work from which Cambridge property owners can choose to print and put into their vacant ground-floor storefronts for purposes of activation and placemaking. All artists, designers, youth, and others are welcome to apply and there is no entry fee. Cambridge residents are encouraged to apply.* 

A one-time honorarium of $1,000 will be provided to each of the five (5) finalists. The final art work will need to be formatted into a digital, high-resolution PDF file, adaptable to different sized windows, with ability to print on both paper and vinyl.

*City of Cambridge employees are not eligible to participate.

Contest Rules

  • Applicants must submit their design by February 8, 2019 by 12:00 p.m. online here. If you are having issues uploading online, please email your submission, including your contact information to:, or via post mail to: Pardis Saffari, Cambridge Community Development Department, 344 Broadway, 3rd floor, Cambridge, MA 02139.
  • Your submission must be your own original concept and not a copy of anyone else’s copyrighted material. If your submission infringes upon another’s copyright it will be disqualified. 
  • Applicants are allowed to submit more than one piece. 
  • If your design is chosen as a semi-finalist or finalist, you grant the City of Cambridge and local property owners a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of your work in vacant storefronts in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a period of two (2) years with an option to renew. You also grant the City permission to reproduce your work in promotions (web and print materials) and documentation of the Storefront Design Contest. 

The Finalists Selection Process

  • A jury will select up to ten (10) semi-finalists. The jury will form criteria that they will use in order to choose the semi-finalists and finalists. 
  • Out of the semi-finalists, three (3) finalists will be chosen by the jury. Two (2) finalists will be chosen  through a People's Choice public vote, conducting by online or in-person vote (semi-finalists will be displayed at the City Hall Annex during the voting period). 
  • Each of the five (5) finalist will receive an honorarium of $1,000 for their design. 
  • After finalists are chosen, their designs will be uploaded to the City’s website and available for reproduction for use in ground floor vacancies in Cambridge, MA.

Contest Timeline

  • January 7 – February 8, 2019 - Contest is open for submissions
  • February 8, 2019 - Deadline for contest submissions
  • February 11-15, 2019 - Jury chooses finalists
  • February 18- March 1, 2019 - People’s Choice is Open
  • March 4, 2019 - Finalists are announced 

For More Information

For more information about the Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest, please contact Pardis Saffari at or 617/349-4654. 

For more information about Cambridge Arts, click here.