BHS Student Eleanor Ford Snares First Prize in Grand Old Fourth Poster Contest

As most islanders know, the Grand Old Fourth of July is one of Bainbridge’s signature annual events, featuring an all-day street fair, classic car show, music, amusements, and, of course, the famous mile-long parade.

2023 GO4th Poster Contest winner Eleanor FordTo make the party even more special, the Chamber of Commerce, which presents the celebratory affair, along BIMA, KiDiMu, and Scrappy Art Lab, yearly invite all current elementary, middle and high school aged students to create art work that is later turned into a poster to help promote the Fourth.

This year’s winner – who was given the award by the Chamber last week – is Eleanor Ford, a soon-to-be graduating senior at Bainbridge High School.

Along with having her rendering displayed on the poster, which will be turned into both a physical and digitized configuration – Ford received a $500 first-place prize from Puget Sound Energy.

“While we’re a utility provider,” says PSE spokesperson Christine Nhan, “a lot of us work and live on the island and we want to support the community… We work closely with the Chamber and want to support their events and help them help the community to do good things.”

“We see the Grand Old Fourth,” adds Nhan, “as one of those events we like to get behind.” She sees PSE’s poster prize money as a helping hand for students like Ford, who may need the money for “college, books and (their) future.”

Ford learned of the poster contest through her BHS art teacher Mary Roland. “She usually lets us know about opportunities to enter something,” the 18-year-old Ford recalls. “It was one of the many things she prompted us to get involved in, so I decided to give it a shot.”

2023 GO4th Poster Contest winner Eleanor Ford 2The Chamber picked Ford’s artwork from dozens of entries. Her poster – appropriately shaded red, white and blue – features a ferry in the middle with fireworks dancing around it. The young artist surrounded the ferry-boat with natural images of the Puget Sound: Mount Rainier, trees, mollusks, star fish and other sea creatures. One of the shellfish is wearing a little red, white and blue top hat to bring out the holiday festivities.

“I wanted to take a wildlife approach to it,” Ford says. “I thought it would be fun to add natural elements. … The fourth is (often) focused on consumerism and fireworks. I wanted (the poster) to focus on things we should focus (more) on.”

As part of the contest and prize money, copyright and ownership of Ford’s design will transfer to the Chamber of Commerce in order for it to be used in creating the official Grand Old 4th promotional poster. Her name, and the contest’s sponsor, PSE, will be included on the poster when it’s produced. A copy of the final poster will be given to the young artist.

Ford grew up on the island to parents, Christian Ford and Kirsten Painter. She has a brother, Sebastian Ford. She’s planning to attend Oberlin College in Ohio next fall and will seek out some form of art education.

“It’s an ambition, but it’s not completely what I want to do,” she explains. “I’ll probably pursue it on the side.” Ford plans to use the $500 first-place prize money to help offset some college costs.

She also plans to do some artwork over the summer to further her skills. “I don’t want to feel like it’s a chore,” Ford notes. “It’s just something I want to do.”

2023 Grand Old 4th of July Posters at KiDiMuYou can view all the poster contest entries at KiDiMu, where they’re proudly displayed in the front window.

For more information the upcoming Grand Old Fourth of July, visit the Chamber of Commerce’s web site: Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce.

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