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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art and Essay Contest

Sleepy‌ ‌Hollow‌ ‌Middle‌ ‌School‌ ‌art‌ ‌students‌ ‌utilized‌ ‌art‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌visual‌ ‌language‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌created‌ ‌original‌ ‌pieces‌ ‌that‌ ‌reflected‌ ‌and‌ ‌honored‌ ‌the‌ ‌life‌ ‌of‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌Luther‌ ‌King,‌ ‌Jr.‌ ‌

Andrea‌ ‌Harrison’s‌ ‌art‌ ‌classes‌ ‌mirrored‌ ‌the‌ ‌style‌ ‌of‌ ‌African‌ ‌American‌ ‌collage‌ ‌artist‌ ‌Romare‌ ‌

Bearden.‌ ‌They‌ ‌worked‌ ‌in‌ ‌groups‌ ‌and‌ ‌designed‌ ‌each‌ ‌collage‌ ‌around‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌King’s‌ ‌quotes‌ ‌and‌ ‌then‌ ‌chose‌ ‌digital‌ ‌images‌ ‌that‌ ‌they‌ ‌complemented‌ ‌with‌ ‌pictures‌ ‌that‌ ‌they‌ ‌drew‌ ‌and‌ ‌painted.‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌artwork‌ ‌is‌ ‌currently‌ ‌on‌ ‌display‌ ‌as‌ ‌part‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌New‌ ‌York‌ ‌State‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌Luther‌ ‌King,‌ ‌Jr. Student‌ ‌Art‌ ‌and‌ ‌Essay‌ ‌Exhibition‌ ‌in‌ ‌Albany.‌ ‌ ‌

One‌ ‌group‌ ‌placed‌ ‌a‌ ‌photo‌ ‌of‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌King‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌red‌ ‌sky.‌ ‌Floating‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌water‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌heart‌ ‌with‌ ‌white and‌ ‌brown‌ ‌skin-colored‌ ‌hands‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌center.‌ ‌Beneath‌ ‌the‌ ‌heart,‌ ‌are‌ ‌three‌ ‌gun‌ ‌barrels‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌hand‌ ‌placing‌ ‌a‌ ‌rose‌ ‌in‌ ‌one‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌barrels.‌ ‌Next,‌ ‌your‌ ‌eyes‌ ‌are‌ ‌drawn‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌broken‌ ‌barrel.

The‌ ‌young‌ ‌artists‌ ‌pondered‌ ‌the‌ ‌quote,‌ ‌“At‌ ‌the‌ ‌center‌ ‌of‌ ‌nonviolence‌ ‌stands‌ ‌the‌ ‌principle‌ ‌of‌ ‌love.”‌ ‌ ‌ 

“We‌ ‌wanted‌ ‌to‌ ‌show‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌have‌ ‌love,”‌ ‌said‌ ‌sixth-grader‌ ‌Gabriel‌ ‌Spector‌ ‌whose‌ ‌group‌ ‌wanted‌ ‌to‌ ‌send‌ ‌a‌ ‌message.‌ ‌“Adults‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌listen‌ ‌to‌ ‌adults,‌ ‌but‌ ‌they‌ ‌are‌ ‌more‌ ‌inclined‌ ‌to‌ ‌listen‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌child.”‌  ‌His‌ ‌classmate‌ ‌Jezrael‌ ‌Panama‌ ‌said,‌ ‌“Obviously,‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌racism‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌world.‌ ‌People‌ ‌are‌ ‌trying‌ ‌to‌ ‌stop‌ ‌it.”‌ ‌

Another‌ ‌picture‌ ‌shows‌ ‌a‌ ‌staircase‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌dark‌ ‌background‌ ‌and‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌King‌ ‌in‌ ‌another‌ ‌portion‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌piece.‌ ‌This‌ ‌explains‌ ‌that‌ ‌even‌ ‌in‌ ‌difficult‌ ‌and‌ ‌dark‌ ‌times,‌ ‌one‌ ‌must‌ ‌choose‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌thing.‌ ‌

“If‌ ‌you‌ ‌see‌ ‌someone‌ ‌getting‌ ‌bullied‌ ‌or‌ ‌hurt,‌ ‌you‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌stand‌ ‌up.‌ ‌Helping‌ ‌can‌ ‌always‌ ‌make‌ ‌a‌ difference,”‌ ‌said‌ ‌Kate‌ ‌Livingston,‌ ‌a‌ ‌sixth-grader.‌ ‌ ‌

Ava‌ ‌Mendez‌ ‌honed‌ ‌valuable‌ ‌art‌ ‌skills‌ ‌transforming‌ ‌words‌ ‌and‌ ‌thoughts‌ ‌into‌ ‌pictures‌ ‌and‌ ‌an‌ even‌ ‌greater‌ ‌lesson.‌ ‌“The‌ ‌project‌ ‌enhances‌ ‌what‌ ‌we‌ ‌know‌ ‌about‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌Luther‌ ‌King,‌ ‌Jr.‌  ‌and‌ how‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌recognize‌ ‌him.”‌ ‌ ‌

The‌ ‌exhibition‌ ‌remains‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Empire‌ ‌State‌ ‌Plaza‌ ‌and‌ ‌New‌ ‌York‌ ‌State‌ ‌Capitol‌ ‌in‌ ‌Albany‌ ‌until‌ ‌the‌ ‌end‌ ‌of‌ ‌February.‌ ‌