Community News

Friends, family, and community came together at ClearWater Arts Center & Studios on Friday, May 24, for an evening celebration of art, culture, and inclusivity. The event was the culmination of ClearWater’s T-shirt design competition that encouraged aspiring artists and designers to share their creativity and express what inclusivity at the art center means to them. Three winning designs were selected by a panel of judges, earning each artist $1,000 for their creative work. In a surprise, two artists tied for the People’s Choice award and will move on to a second round of public voting to determine the winner of the final $1,000 prize.

The T-Shirt design competition included 27 submissions from 25 local artists. A panel of four judges selected three winning designs from three separate artists, who each received $1,000 to support their work. The judges’ top three winners were:

  • Abigayle Davis of Concord, who shared “art is a tool to explore and affirm my identity. Growing up as a woman in a Mexican/American household combined with frequent uprooting serves as a foundation for a lot of my work.”
  • Daniel Blumenfeld, who designs T-shirts as a hobby and said “I like to design images that tell a story, send a message, or let the viewer clearly know where you are. My goal is to create beautiful, thoughtful, and positive images to try to make this world a less ugly place.”
  • Victor Moore, who called his piece an “exercise in love for the community that supports and uplifts me creatively, and beyond.” Victor shared that “ClearWater Arts Center & Studios is about pouring into the artists, refilling, and refueling them. Artists need places to network and fellowship. We need spaces that inspire. We need our community, and our community needs us.”

In addition to the judges’ selections, the public was invited to vote on their favorite T-shirt design, and the design with the most votes would win the People’s Choice award and $1,000 for their work. The designs were printed on white T-shirts and displayed in the Main Gallery at ClearWater for the public to view and vote in person or they could vote online.

After 643 votes were cast, two artists – Jagu Patel and Najee Barnes – tied for the People’s Choice award. Because only one artist can win the $1,000 prize towards their creative work, the two artists’ designs will go head-to-head in a final public vote to determine the People’s Choice winner. Voting will open online on Monday, May 27 at 8 a.m. and close on Friday, May 31 at 12 p.m. Voting will be available online at People can also vote in person at ClearWater beginning Wednesday, May 29. The People’s Choice winner will be announced at the end of the day on Friday, May 31.

All winning T-shirt designs will be printed and available for purchase at ClearWater. Shirts will go on sale beginning Wednesday, June 26.

The T-shirt design competition was a collaboration between ClearWater Arts Center & Studios and Studio Print Shop, a Concord-based apparel printing company. It was made possible thanks to a grant from the Grassroots Arts Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency, and the Cabarrus Arts Council.

For more information about ClearWater Arts Center & Studios visit

Winner Abigayle Davis

Winner Daniel Blumenfeld

Winner Victor Moore

Semi-Finalist Najee Barnes

Semi-Finalist Jagu Patel