J. Jill, the classically causal clothing store and online catalog began its "Nature of Compassion" t-shirt design contest in 2006. Over 2,500 entries were received this year, each piece of art celebrating the flux in nature and its wholesome beauty.

The contest was created in support of J. Jill’s Compassion Fund, which is devoted to serving community-based organizations that reach out to poor and homeless women. In its first year, the contest produced more than $315,000 from sales. All proceeds were donated to the Compassion Fund.

The finalists were chosen on three different criteria by representatives of J. Jill. Half of the points were awarded on relevance to the contest’s theme, 25 percent on uniqueness and the remaining 25 percent on how well the representatives believed the design would sell. If two designs should tie, the design that received the highest score on saleability will win the grand prize.

The winner will be publicly announced on November 1, but voters will receive an email announcing the winner before it hits the news.

The winning design will be printed on a long-sleeved, cotton t-shirt. For $24.95, this limited edition item will be sold in all J. Jill stores and on JJill.com through the Holiday Season.

The grand prize is a round trip for two to Artista Creative Safari, located in Caramel-by-the-Sea, California. The winner will have a four day stay there, filled with one-on-one painting lessons in the Artista Studio and reviews of their artwork by an Artista Professional.

If the artist should need a break for some inspiration or simply to clear his or her color palette, this deluxe package also includes a one-hour massage, a daily yoga class, a picnic at Point Lobes State Reserve and an exclusive Artista reception and dinner party. The grand prize winner will also receive a $1,000 shopping spree to J. Jill, so they can leave for their trip in style.

The remaining nine finalists, however, will not walk away empty-handed. They too will receive a shopping spree to J. Jill for up to $500.00.

The J. Jill Compassion Fund is housed at the Boston Foundation and has provided more than $1.2 million in charitable funding. Its generosity has helped women in the local area and has spread throughout the entire country. A complete list of causes is available online.

Established in 1987, J. Jill now operates more than 240 stores throughout the country.

Here are the top 10 finalists:

Kimberly Bardill – Wilmington, North Carolina
Susan Handly – St. Helena, California
Busha Husak – Malden, Massachusetts
Anita Gildea – Fort Wayne, Indiana
Paulina Manzo – Niskayuna, New York
Frances McCloskey – Belmar, New Jersey
Carrie Ralston – Wanaque, New Jersey
Jennifer Reagles – Middleton, Wisconsin
Toby Reed – Newton, Massachusetts
Jamie Wyant – Salem, Oregon

About The Author

Holly Jobbagy is a Blast Magazine staff writer

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