Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest

The Cambridge Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest, a program designed by the Community Development Department and Cambridge Arts, aims to energize neighborhoods and activate commercial districts by filling empty storefront windows with reproductions of locally-made art.

Each year, the Contest invites local artists to submit their original designs. A jury reviews the submissions and selects finalists. Following finalist announcements, the Cambridge community votes for their favorite designs to determine five (5) winners. Cambridge property owners can choose a design from the five winners to print and display in their vacant storefronts. 2020 winners will be available for download and installation in spring 2020.

Currently, property owners can select work from the 2019 and 2020 Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest Winners. Request a Design for Your Vacant Storefront.

Click here for a gallery of the 2020 Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest Finalists. 

2020 Vacant Storefront Design Contest Winners

 True Colors by Greggy Bazille
 Longing by H. Laurie Kurens
 Shades of Brown by Mariona Lloreta
 Celestial by Cory Shea
 Haitian Village Boy by Wishton Thime


2020 Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest Guidelines

The 2nd Annual Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest is currently accepting submissions from local artists. Designs can be submitted in a range of mediums - from paintings and prints to photographs and graphic designs - to be reproduced and used for temporary window displays in vacant ground floor storefronts. The deadline to submit original artwork was Friday, February 7, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. 15 finalist designs will be selected by a jury. Following the announcement of finalists, a public voting poll was open from February 24-March 6, 2020, inviting the public to choose 5 winners.

Contest Rules

  • Submissions must be original concepts and not a copy of anyone else’s copyrighted material. If your submission infringes upon another’s copyright it will be disqualified.
  • Any submissions with offensive language will be disqualified.
  • Applicants may submit no more than three pieces of original artwork for consideration. 
  • Artwork submissions must be formatted into a digital, high-resolution PDF file, adaptable to different sizes, with ability to print on both paper and vinyl.
  • City of Cambridge employees are not eligible to participate (this includes Cambridge Public School employees and Cambridge Public Health Department employees).
  • Applicants must be from the Greater Boston area (i.e. your studio, school, or residence must be in or around Cambridge, MA)
  • The City of Cambridge and local property owners are granted a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of finalist and winning designs in vacant storefronts in Cambridge, MA for a period of two (2) years with an option to renew. Artists also grant the City permission to reproduce their work through City promotions (web and print materials) and documentation of the Vacant Storefront Creative Design Contest.
  • Applicants must submit their original artwork by February 7, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EST. No exceptions.

The Finalists Selection Process

  • A jury will select 12-15 finalists
  • Out of the finalists, five (5) winners will be chosen through a People's Choice public vote, conducted online or in-person (finalists will be displayed at the City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, during the voting period).  
  • Each of the five (5) winners will receive an honorarium of $1,000 for their design.
  • After winners 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 6 – February 7, 2020- Contest open for submissions
  • February 7, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. EST - Deadline for contest submissions
  • February 10-21, 2020 - Jury selection for finalists
  • February 24- March 6, 2020 - People’s Choice Poll voting period
  • March 10, 2020 - Winners notified
  • Mid-March, 2020 - Winners announced and designs available for installation

For More Information

Contact Pardis Saffari, Senior Economic Development Manager, at or 617/349-4654.