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PRESS RELEASE: The Marblehead Festival of Arts Reveals the Winner of the 2023 Festival Logo

Marblehead Beacon - 9 February 2023

The crowded dining room of The Landing Restaurant in Marblehead was nearly silent as Festival Board member Amy Thompson removed the cover from an easel featuring the winning design of the 2023 Marblehead Festival of Arts logo contest. Then, an eruption of applause and cheers for the winner, 7th grader Fiona Barr of Marblehead. Fiona’s winning graphic, in striking deep blue and red on bright white background, depicts Abbot Hall with bursting fireworks framing the iconic Marblehead tower. Each year the Festival is represented by a new logo selected from an open design competition. The logo design entry must symbolize the arts and/or the town of Marblehead. Fiona explained that her inspiration drew from memories of Abbot Hall and the 4th of July fireworks that celebrate the fun Festival events. She shared 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. After her colored pencil drawing, Two Birds on a Branch, won an Honorable Mention and the People’s Choice Award in the Youth category at the 2022 Festival, Fiona was inspired to enter the 2023 logo contest. Her winning logo will be displayed on all products sold during the 2023 Festival, as well as Marblehead Festival of Arts promotional materials throughout the year. Also featured at the event were the other two finalist entries. One, featuring whimsical red-white and-blue buoys, was designed by 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. The other, a sky-blue-and-yellow graphic depicting Chandler Hovey Park and Marblehead Light, was designed by Denis Whelan, a technology executive and Marblehead parent with a rich creative background. This year, the three finalists were chosen as finalists from 61 submissions 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. The 2023 Festival logo was chosen by public vote in Swampscott, Salem and Marblehead and was displayed for the first time at the Premiere Party, along with the rest of the top 17 logo entries. The other 14 semi-finalist logos displayed were created by Fiona Barr*, Adam Cohn, Martha Fernandes, Jason Goodwin, Cara Grazado, Alicia Hart, Sam Kosch**, Nicole Habin Lynch, Elise Nash, and Denis Whelan. [*Marblehead School, ** Beverly Community College] “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. Echoing Smalley’s sentiments, newly appointed Board President Jodi-Tatiana Charles shared that the logo contest is the first of many exciting 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.” The Marblehead Festival of Arts would like to thank the logo contest entrants, judges, community voters, supporters and Robert Simonelli, Manager of the Landing, who is generously donating a percentage of all meals and drinks purchased during the event to support the Festival. About Marblehead Festival of Arts (MFoA) Founded in 1962, the Marblehead Festival of Arts has a rich history of producing a premier summer arts festival that has become a unique forum for artistic expression. Traditionally held each year over the July 4th holiday, the Festival hosts a wide range of art exhibits (painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, etc.), outdoor music concerts overlooking Marblehead Harbor, Literary Festival, Street Festival, Children’s and Boat Building activities, Artisans’ Marketplace, Film Festival, and many other cultural activities designed to provide a fun and enriching experience for the entire family. The MFoA is an all-volunteer organization comprised of more than forty committees and involving several hundred volunteers. It operates year-round and relies solely on donations to fund its operations. Individuals, families and businesses may become Festival Sponsors by making a tax-deductible contribution. For additional information on MFoA, a calendar of events, volunteer opportunities and sponsorship, please visit

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