Art & Essay Contest 2016

Art & Essay Contest 2016

Dear Educators and Students,

Peace Islands Institute announces its 5th Annual Art & Essay Contest for the middle and high school students in the State of New Jersey. Since its inception in 2010 PII’s Art & Essay contest for grades 6-12 has reached a prominent number of submissions each year. The board later decided to limit the submissions to 5 per teacher per grade, where more than 200 NJ schools are participating. You can see previous Award Ceremonies and winners by visiting our webpage (

Sponsors: PSEG, Star Ledger, Ebru TV

About the Contest:

PII helps to make New Jersey a stronger and more prosperous state by advancing the causes of peace, cross-cultural acceptance and human dignity. PII believes that establishing dialog platforms is a means to appreciate diverse opinions and eliminate the stereotypes often assigned to ‘others’. In this respect, the Art and Essay Contest is very instrumental in building bridges between New Jersey communities as well as other segments of the larger society.

To contribute to the improvement of diversity, pluralism and multiculturalism in society, PII organizes the “Art & Essay Contest” to instill some of these values among the youth of our state and to give them a forum with various platforms in which they can express their understanding and analysis of these values. The contest’s objective is to make our future leaders aware of social issues at an early age and to think globally in efforts to alleviate these conflicts.

The contest consists of 2 categories; Art Contest and Essay Contest, and is made up of 2 participant categories; Middle school (grades 6 through 8), and High school (grades 9 through 12). Each participant can compete in either  or both of the Art and Essay parts. For more information about the contest and the location of the events you can visit PII’s website:

Each year we have a different theme. This year’s theme is: Cyber Bullying ‘Coping with the Electronic Realm’

Definition of the theme and brainstorming worksheet:

Participants may consider the following list of issues in preparing their work:

•             The internet has a lot of awesome places to be and at the same time, there are places where nobody should be.

•             Technology (social media) could ruin people’s lives, and we should realize the power of  this aspect of technology.

•             What is safe on the internet?

•             How to balance technology in our lives without banning it?

•             Why do individuals Cyber Bully? What is their motivation?

•             What are the consequences of being Cyber Bullied?

•             What could be done to prevent Cyber Bullying?

•             How can I help someone I know who is being Cyber Bullied?

•             How would I react to someone who is Cyber Bullying?

•             How can we mobilize people around us to come together to stand against Cyber Bullying?

•             What role can parents and school officials play to prevent Cyber Bullying?

•             What more could the state of New Jersey and law makers do to prevent Cyber Bullying?

The theme “Cyber Bullying” means much more than you think. When composing your work, feel free to be creative. Just remember you want to create a work that encourages the reader think further on this social problem and question if we need to become more concerned about it in today’s global culture.

Participant Eligibility Requirements & 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 art work by April 29th 2016.

2. The names of winners will be announced on May 13th 2016.

3. The awards ceremony time and venue will be announced soon.

Contest Awards for Each Category

High School (Grades 9 through 12)

  1. First Place – $500
  2. Second Place – $400
  3. Third Place – $300
  4. 5 mentions: $100 each.

Middle School (Grades 6 through 8)

  1. First Place – $400
  2. Second Place – $300
  3. Third Place – $200
  4. 5 mentions: $100 each.

Award Ceremony Venue

Exact place will be announced at a later time.

Contest Categories

1. Essay Contest

a. The participants have to send their essays via mail by April 29th 2016.

b. Essays must be original, unpublished, and written by the participant only.

c. Each student may submit only one (1) essay.

d. We ask teachers to sponsor students and guide them. We also ask them to mail essays on students’ behalf. Each sponsoring teacher may not submit more than five (5) essays per grade in total.

e. Each essay should be no more than 1000 words.

f. Each essay should be written in Times New Roman font, size 12, and should not have any images in the document.

g. Essays may be one of the following types:

Informative Essay, Narrative Story, or True Story

h. The top three places and five mentions for each category of participants will have their names published on the PII – website on May 13th 2016 and will receive their prizes at the award ceremony.

Each submission will be judged on the basis of the following criteria: Grammar, the uniqueness of the piece, in depth understanding of the topic and its presentation, the style of writing and the flow of the concepts, and how the essay in general approaches to solving this problem in the world and small communities.

i. Each submission must include

  • Name
  • Grade
  • School
  • Sponsoring Teacher’s Name
  • Sponsoring Teacher’s E-mail

j. Participants consent to their work being used and copied by Peace Islands Institute for promotional and/or informational purposes.

k. Please note that submission by person is not acceptable. We ask sponsoring teacher to either mail or Email all essays he/she sponsored in one envelope.

2. Visual Art Contest

a. The participants have to mail their arts by April 29th, 2016.

b. The names of prizewinners will be announced on the PII website and website on May 13th 2016.

c. Works of art that are ranked in the top 15 will be displayed during the award ceremony.

d. Participants may submit entries utilizing any medium in a 2-D format. Drawing, watercolor, oil paint, acrylic paint, collages, mixed media accepted. (No sculpture or photograph)

e. Submissions may be one of the following sizes: 16” X 16”, 16” X 12”, or 17” X 11”

f. A jury of art professionals will judge the submitted works on the basis of the following:

  • Uniqueness of composition
  • Creative/expressive use of materials
  • Artistry of execution
  • Integration of medium and message (overall impact of the visual idea)

g.  Each submission must have the following written on the back.  The student’s:

  • Name
  • Grade
  • School
  • Sponsoring Teacher’s Name
  • Sponsoring Teacher’s E-mail

h.  Participant’s consent to their artwork being used and copied by Peace Islands Institute for promotional and/or informational purposes should be enclosed.

i. No artwork will be returned to students.


1. All Future announcements may be found on

2. All rights of submissions sent belong to Peace Islands Institute

3.  Winners are responsible for his/her transportation to the ceremony.

4. Check (monetary awards) will be made payable to parents or legal guardians.

Contact Information

Peace Islands Institute

777 Terrace Avenue, Suite 109, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

Ph: 201-426-0689  Fax: 201-426-0690   Email:



1) Are photographs allowed for the Art category?

No, they are not allowed.

2) We are working on a mural, and we would like to submit that, but obviously it belongs to more than  one student. Is this a problem?

No, unfortunately, we cannot accept murals.

3) Are schools outside New Jersey allowed to participate?

 No, the contest is for all Middle and High School located only in New Jersey.

4) If I’m not able to make it to the Award Ceremony, what will happen to my prize?

You may pick it up from the PII’s office located in Hasbrouck Heights, or we could mail it to you.