Some colleges do it with plays and concerts. Others do it with athletics. The University of Bridgeport is working hard to improve town-gown relations — with design.
Some fashion merchandising students there are helping downtown merchants brighten their storefronts for the holidays. And believe me, they’ve got their work cut out for them.
The resulting Christmas displays will be judged in a contest held by the Downtown Special Services District. And I’m pleased to be one of the judges.
“We’ve reached out to 100 businesses,” Rick Myers, the DSSD’s managing director told the Connecticut Post.
Post writer Rob Varnon is right when he observes Bridgeport’s wealth of shops that have escaped wrecking balls and other renovation trends. Urban renewal of the 1960s cost downtown some blocks, but not all of them. It’s a miracle.
And as a result, our downtown, such as it is, has large windows made for displays like these. “It’s like a series of blank canvases just waiting for fresh brush strokes from a new generation of artists,” said Varnon.
UB students have already worked at Maria Carvajal’s Tailor Shop, also known as Victor’s, at 71 John St. and at Junior’s Jewelry II at 75 John St.
“If you do a creative window, you can attract customers,” Albert said. She also said it doesn’t have to hurt your budget, you can get material for the display from second-hand stores.
Businesses have until Dec. 10 to enter for a possible top prize of $250.