The Economic Strategies Development Corporation has launched a new competition to bring artists and local businesses together ahead of the holiday season for a window display competition in Pilsen. Credit: Provided

PILSEN — A new competition aims to bring shoppers to local businesses and boost morale with the help of artists in Pilsen.

The Economic Strategies Development Corporation, formerly known as the Eighteenth Street Development Corporation, is bringing together artists and local businesses through its window display contest.

Artists will partner with a local business and highlight at least one of the shop’s products with a Christmas window display, group President Alex Esparza said.

Any artists interested in participating in the window display competition can email

The aim is to get people to shop local for the holiday season and give struggling businesses a “fighting chance to survive,” Esparza said.

“We want to maximize foot traffic to our businesses,” he said.

The idea was suggested by Diana Hinojosa, a staffer at the Economic Strategies Development Corporation, who was inspired by large Christmas window displays at Macy’s and other big shops in the Loop during the holidays. Those displays are an attraction on their own and draw families to Downtown, Esparza said.

Esparza said they also want the displays to boost morale and uplift the community during the holidays.

Businesses have been struggling due to the pandemic. And artists, who are a “staple of the community,” are also hurting, which is why the nonprofit wanted to get them involved, as well, Esparza said. 

Participating artists’ window displays must cost less than $50 to put together — with the funds provided by the nonprofit — and the display  must be completed by Nov. 28, Esparza said.

Shoppers will get to vote on the best display, and the winning artist will be granted $1,000, Esparza said.

The window display is the latest initiative from the Economic Strategies Development Corporation. Its members are also hosting a loteria, or Mexican bingo competition, aimed at encouraging neighbors to support area businesses, Esparza said.

“Our businesses are dependent on our local residents,” Esparza said. “This is who we are appealing to because every other neighborhood is doing the same thing in their neighborhoods. Across the city, across the state, across the country, we are seeing businesses close down.”

Esparza said they are open to more suggestions on how they best showcase local businesses. 

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Pilsen, Little Village and West Loop reporterrnrnmauricio@blockclubchi.orgnnPilsen, Little Village and West Loop Twitter @MauricioPena

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