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Winning Poster Design Chosen for 2015 Uptown Arts Stroll

 Edwin Ureña, pictured with family at friends at Monday's voting event, holds his winning design.
Edwin Ureña, pictured with family at friends at Monday's voting event, holds his winning design.
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Michael J. Palma

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The votes are in.

Washington Heights-based artist Edwin Ureña was named winner of the 2015 Uptown Arts Stroll poster contest for his design “Paint My Town.” 

Ureña’s design was chosen from among five finalists to decorate the promotional materials for this year’s festival.

His poster features a woman painting the skyline of Upper Manhattan with the George Washington Bridge in the background. The lower right corner of the piece shows a subway map featuring Uptown 1 and A train stops.

Ureña, a graphic designer and illustrator, said he chose a color palette of deep coral and gold to set his piece apart.

“I wanted to do something that pops out,” he said. “Something more colorful and more exciting that would capture everybody’s attention.”

He saw the painter on his poster, as well as the title, as a metaphor for the Uptown Arts Stroll.

“It’s saying that the arts are what is making this town alive,” he said. “They are painting my town.”

Ureña was only peripherally aware of the Arts Stroll before last year, but once he learned more about the month-long event organized by the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, he knew he wanted to be involved.

He said many local artists have to work other jobs to support their creative endeavors and that their art is too often hidden behind closed doors.

“You don’t even know they’re artists, but with the Arts Stroll they come out,” he said. “It’s like a superhero. They come out in the Arts Stroll and you’re like, ‘Oh, you’re that artist?’ It keeps people motivated to keep working.”

About 125 community members gathered at the 809 Lounge on Monday to vote for the winner.

Sandra García-Betancourt, NoMAA’s executive director, said it wasn’t an easy choice.

“I think the finalists were fantastic, all of them,” she said. “It was such a hard decision.”

García-Betancourt said that people really seemed to respond to Ureña’s design.  

“I think people were very excited by the colors he used. It’s very alive,” she said.

She also appreciated that the winning poster featured subway stops from northern Harlem, as the Arts Stroll is expanding farther south this year to 135th Street.

García-Betancourt said the poster-voting event proved to her how vital the Arts Stroll is for the Uptown community.

“We had 125 people there last night, and it was a very diverse audience,” she said. “It really affirms to us that the arts are something that are rooted in this community.”