MURRAY — At a time where the community, and the world in general, probably feels trapped under ugly, gray storm clouds courtesy of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, a little sunshine came to the Murray court square Monday.

This was in the form of the installation of new spring-themed banners that appeared on the street lamps surrounding the Calloway County Courthouse, and these were special in that the designs were created by local youth. These were the winners of a contest that Murray Main Street Inc. hosted last year that involved students from local schools.

“We just needed a spring-time banner and decided it would be fun to include kids in designing our spring banners,” said Murray Main Street Program Manager Deana Wright, adding that, while it might not have been the biggest thing in the world, Monday’s installation by City of Murray employees at least brought a dash of color to the square.

“It’s kind of quiet around here, so in putting those up, I was just hoping that, when spring comes, it makes you feel good and these can kind of brighten it up a little bit down here,” she said.

The designs were selected by a judging panel that consisted of both members of the Main Street design committee, as well as Murray Art Guild Executive Director Debbie Danielson. The Art Guild also assisted in the organizing of the competition.

All of the winners came from the Murray Independent School District. Isabelle Bourne designed a banner dominated with colorful flowers. Ella Bryant supplied a design showing an outline of Kentucky with a star marking Murray’s location on that map. The other winning design came from Alyssa Daughrity, whose work featured a honeycomb and bee.

“I think it gives (children) a buy-in to the downtown area, and I think it’s pretty important to have kids involved in anything we’re doing,” Wright said. “It’s their downtown as well and when they have buy-in like that, they feel just as involved in decisions that concern downtown as anybody else.

“I think it also shows others in the community that our future is going to be bright. By having (students) involved in any way we can, whether it’s by doing banners or any other art activity we have, if they have ideas on what to do downtown, we definitely want to include them.”

A reception for the three winners was to have accompanied the installation this week. Due to the COVID-19 situation, though, that was scrapped, Wright said. However, she did say that plans are for that reception to happen at a later date.

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