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2020 Art & Essay Contest

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We are re-launching the 2020 Art and Essay Contest with the NEW submission due date, November 26. We have changed the contest theme to “Solidarity in the Middle of a Pandemic.” Good luck to all the contestants!

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Dear Educators and Students,

Peace Islands Institute (PII) welcomes submissions for its 10th Annual Art & Essay (A&E) Contest. This year’s theme is “Solidarity in the Middle of a Pandemic” Consistent with PII’s mission of promoting pluralism and bringing people from different backgrounds together, A&E Contest aims to (1) bring middle and high school students from around the state of New Jersey together, (2) promote awareness on issues of common concern among New Jersey youth, (3) facilitate their personal and academic growth through a healthy competitive environment, and (4) inspire them to make positive change in their communities. Since its inception in 2010, A&E Contest attracts submissions from around 200 New Jersey schools. The contest consists of two categories, art and essay, and is made up of two participant categories, middle school (grades 6 through 8) and high school (grades 9 through 12). Each participant can compete in one or both of art and essay categories. Please follow our Instagram account at @artandessay to stay up to date with the contest announcements.


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Contest Theme Description and Brainstorming Worksheet:

This year’s theme is Solidarity in the middle of a pandemic! We are seeking submissions examining how a tragic pandemic can bring the best out of people. Students could approach this subject through how society as whole reacts to the COVID-19 pandemic or how individuals rise above the adversity. Here are some ideas to ponder (not necessarily a comprehensive list):

During this tragic pandemic,

  • What is the role of first responders,
  • How are minorities and underprivileged parts of the society affected,
  • How is technology used to help others and fight COVID-19,
  • How is life in quarantine like,
  • What are some lessons learned to mitigate the effects of similar tragedies in the future,
  • Are there any positive takeaways about personal growth, family relationships, community development?

Sample References:

Department of Homeland Security (2020), “COVID-19 Information for the First Responder Community”, accessed at https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/covid-19-info- first-responders

The Brookings Institution (2020), “Well-being and mental health amid COVID-19: Differences in resilience across minorities and whites”, accessed at https://www.brookings.edu/research/well-being-and-mental-health-amid-covid-19- differences-in-resilience-across-minorities-and-whites/

Johansson, Anna (2020), “Five Ways Tech is Being Used to Fight COVID-19”, accessed at https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/five-ways-tech-is-being-used-to-fight- covid-19
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Who Can Participate & Important Dates:

Students at grades 6-12 from the State of New Jersey can enter the contest. Each student may submit only one work in each category.
1. The participants have to send their works by November 26, 2020, at 11:59pm.
2. Winners will be announced on December 15th, 2020 via our Instagram account and website.
3. The awards ceremony time and venue will also be announced via same platforms.
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Grades 9 through 12:

1. First Place – $400

2. Second Place – $300

3. Third Place – $200

4. 5 mentions – $100 each.
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Grades 6 through 8:

1. First Place – $400

2. Second Place – $300

3. Third Place – $200

4. 5 mentions – $100 each.
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Submit your 2020 contest essays here

Fill out my online form.

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Contest Categories:

  1.  Essay Contest
    a. The participants must submit their essays online on www.artandessay.org by November 1st, 2020, at 11:59pm.
    b. Essays must be original, unpublished, and written by one student.
    c. Each student may submit only one (1) essay.
    d. We ask teachers to sponsor students and guide them. Submissions must include teacher email addresses so that PII can confirm with teachers that they reviewed the submissions before PII receives them.
    e. Each essay should be no more than 1000 words.
    f. Each essay should be written in Microsoft Word, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, size 12, and should not have any image in the document.
    g. Essays may be one of the following types: (1) Informative Essay, (2) Narrative Story, or (3) True Story.
    h. Top three places and five mentions for each category of participants will have their names published on our website and will receive their prizes at the award ceremony
    Each submission will be judged on the basis of following criteria: (1) grammar, (2) uniqueness, (3) writing style and flow, and (4) understanding of the theme and its implementation in the piece.
    i. Each submission must include
    ⦁ Student name,
    ⦁ Grade,
    ⦁ School name,
    ⦁ Sponsoring Teacher’s Name, Phone number, and Email
    j. Participants automatically consent to their work being used and copied by Peace Islands Institute for promotional and/or informational purposes.
  2. Visual Art Contest
    a. Art submissions must be received at the PII offices by November 1st, 2020 at 11:59m.
    b. Artworks ranked in the top 15 will be displayed during the award ceremony.
    c. Participants may submit entries utilizing any medium in a 2-D format. Drawing, watercolour, oil paint, acrylic paint, collages, mixed media accepted. (No sculpture or photograph!).
    d. Submissions may be one of the following sizes: 16”X16, 16”X12 or 17”X11”
    e. A jury of art professionals will judge the submitted works on the basis of the following: (1) uniqueness, (2) creative/expressive use of materials, (3) artistry of execution, and (4) integration of medium and message (overall impact of the visual idea)
    f. Each submission must have on the back:
    ⦁ Student name
    ⦁ Grade
    ⦁ School name
    ⦁ Sponsoring Teacher’s Name, Phone number, and Email
    g. Participants automatically consent to their artwork being used and copied by Peace Islands Institute for promotional and/or informational purposes.
    h. No artwork will be returned to students.

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