Philomath High School student Chloe Jurva admits that she’s a little apprehensive when it comes to stepping into the spotlight with a piece of artwork that she’s created.
A sophomore in Nicole Stueve’s graphic design class, Jurva’s work will be seen by just about everybody in Philomath along with a good number in neighboring communities as part of the promotional materials for the Public Safety Chili Cook-Off, which will be coming to the Frolic rodeo grounds at Skirvin Park on Sept. 8.
“It makes me nervous but I’m also excited,” Jurva said. “I mean, I want the recognition but being the center of attention is kinda scary.”
Jurva’s poster design was judged to be the best among 10-plus submissions from Stueve’s technology education classroom. Through an effort organized by the chili cook-off’s organizational partners — the Philomath Police Foundation and the Benton County Sheriff’s Foundation — the poster features easy-to-read lettering, an effective color scheme and an eye-catching black chili pot.
“She pays attention to details; she really spends quality time just trying to figure out a design that she wants,” Stueve said about Jurva's work. “She doesn’t just rush into anything and just start throwing stuff on the page. She listens to the instructions really well and then pulls out things that work.”
Jurva said she took desktop publishing last year and wanted to continue along that path with graphic design.
“First, I looked online just for ideas, just to get some kind of foundation for what I was thinking,” Jurva said about her approach to the project. “Once I did that, I made my own stuff and made it into what I thought looked good.”
She estimated that it took about a week to finish the poster, which is a pretty good completion rate considering 70-minute class times. Stueve estimated about half of the students in the class participated in the project.
Philomath Chief of Police Ken Rueben said the idea for a student artwork contest evolved out of early meetings among organizers. One of the goals was to encourage more involvement from the community.
Before long, Stueve was approached about organizing a contest with her class, which works on similar products at the high school such as graduation programs or many of the posters and banners seen around campus.
“That’s what we’re there for is to start branching out and offering more community involvement because it’s a great experience for the students,” Stueve said. “They actually get to get real-life customer feedback about what works and what doesn’t work.”
Stueve said a bonus is that such projects give students something that can become part of their portfolios, if they plan to pursue related schooling or careers.
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When first approached, Stueve admits that she wasn’t sure if the class could produce what Rueben might be wanting.
“My goal is I want it to be a high-quality product and I never want the community to feel like they have to use our work because they seek us out,” Stueve said.
Rueben agreed with that assessment since the poster represents the chili cook-off’s No. 1 marketing tool.
Stueve worked with the students on Photoshop skills in class before introducing the chili cook-off poster project to them. Rueben visited the classroom to provide a personal touch and illustrate what the cook-off organizers had in mind.
Students got to work right away on drafts of their ideas and Stueve shared them with Rueben a couple of weeks later.
“She shows up here with 11 of these posters and I’m not kidding, I’m not exaggerating at all that every poster we could’ve used in some format — they were that good,” Rueben said. “They all had different design things that we wanted to change or enhance, but the actual designs and formatting of them, I was like, ‘how are we going to pick?’”
More than 20 people provided input on their favorites with the top two very close on the “voting.” Jurva’s poster ended up as the winning artwork.
Various tweaks to the poster were done with a final step to be the addition of donor logos.
“On some of the other ones, the poster quality itself and the detail were better ... but this one, the actual design of the chili pot really stood out because from 20, 50 feet away, you can see exactly what it is,” Rueben said. “It really just jumps out and the color contrast between the yellow and orange background and the black chili pot really stand out.”
For those who want to see all of the posters, Rueben hopes to put them on display at the chili cook-off’s ticket booth.
Rueben and Stueve plan to explore the idea of making an annual event out of the poster contest.