7th grade student claims victory in Marblehead Festival of Arts logo contest

Photo by Marblehead Festival of the Arts

A 13-year-old Veterans Middle School student claimed victory in the Marblehead Festival of Arts logo contest on Tuesday evening when the logo she designed was selected over two other finalists to represent the festival.

Fiona Barr’s logo depicts Abbot Hall with bursting fireworks framing the iconic Marblehead tower, with the tower and fireworks depicted in blue and red, set on a white background.

She is the youngest winner in the 57-year history of the contest, emerging from a field of 61 submissions. Her logo will now be displayed on all products sold during the 2023 Festival, as well as Marblehead Festival of Arts promotional materials throughout the year.

The 2023 Festival logo was chosen by public vote in Swampscott, Salem and Marblehead, and was revealed during a fundraiser at The Landing restaurant Tuesday.

“The winning logo captures the movement and liveliness of the Festival – and Abbot Hall is iconic,” said Bill Smalley, chair of the Logo Contest, after presenting Barr with the win.

Each year, the festival is represented by a new logo selected from an open design Competition, with the only requirement being that the design must symbolize the arts and/or the town.

Barr’s design was selected over submissions from Cara Grazado, a student at the University of Maryland who was invited to participate in the Art All-State program during her time at Marblehead High School, and Denis Whelan, a technology executive and Marblehead parent with a creative background.

Grazado’s design featured red and white buoys, while Whelan’s depicted Chandler Hovey Park and Marblehead Light in sky blue and yellow.

Finalists were selected by a panel of experts, including Wayne George, owner of F. L. Woods Nautical Merchants, Mary Melilli, Graphic Artist and Professor of Media and Communication at Salem State University, and Kristen Nyberg, owner of Nyberg Design and the 2019 logo winning artist.

Barr said she drew inspiration from memories of Abbot Hall and the July 4 fireworks that celebrate the Festival events. Barr added that she has grown up participating in the Marblehead Festival of the Arts, enjoying the crafts at the Children’s Festival, taking in the street performers, and building model boats for the Regattas on Redd’s Pond.

During the 2022 festival, Barr earned an Honorable Mention and the People’s Choice Award in the Youth category for a colored pencil drawing, inspiring her to submit a design for this year’s festival.

Board President Jodi-Tatiana Charles said the logo contest is the first of many Festival events in 2023.

“This year, we have a goal to get our entire community – in Marblehead and throughout Essex County – involved and excited about the fun events the Festival offers, so that together we can continue to support our local artists and provide scholarships to deserving students,” Charles said in a statement.