The Mountain Times

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Castleton student wins SolarFest t-shirt design contest

The skills and talent of communications student Ryan Ackerman, a West Rutland native, were recently recognized as his original design proved to be a crowd favorite in the recent SolarFest T-shirt contest, winning him first place.


SolarFest, a three-day festival July 12-14, 2013 in Tinmouth, Vt. showcases the power and possibilities of solar energy. Each year organizers engages the community in the t-shirt design contest. After hearing about this year's sustainability-theme, Ackerman took to the drawing board, fusing the Vermont landscape with a celestial sun to create the winning design.


"I wanted to do something out of the box," said Ackerman. "Unlike anything they used before."
After obtaining a total of 755 votes, amounting to almost 50 percent of the total votes cast, he was announced the winner. The winning T-shirt design earned Ackerman two free all-weekend passes to the festival, a free vehicle camping pass, vouchers for free food and a few free t-shirts. His design will be featured on 2013 SolarFest t-shirts that will be available throughout the festival.
"The real prize for me is getting my name out there and having my design used for hundreds of t-shirts. Creating things is my passion," said Ackerman, who has designed everything from flyers and logos to building signs.


In addition to offering design and social media consulting to businesses around the region, Ackerman also works in e-Commerce at The Vermont Country Story.


While many SolarFest participants will witness his talents for the first time, the Castleton community has had the pleasure of seeing his work on a regular basis.


"I've always been amazed by Ryan's editorial cartoons," said Dave Blow, advisor to the Spartan newspaper. "We've had talented artists drawing for The Spartan before," said Blow, "But his could be on the pages of daily papers!

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The Spartan staff has featured several of Ackerman's cartoons in recent issues and Blow has enjoyed his work so much he recently asked Ackerman to collaborate with him to design the cover for a book he is working on.

Ryan Ackerman currently resides in Clarendon Springs, Vt. while attending Castleton State College where he focuses on digital media.