By SILE MOLONEY
Video courtesy of New York Department of Education and Office of General Service
The New York State Department of Education (NYSED) and Office of General Service (OGS) announced Friday, January 14 that a record number of students participated in the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther Expo King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay, with Bedford Park Public School Recognized for Creative Project.
Department officials said Dr. King’s commitment to nonviolence advocacy inspired 2,700 students from more than 90 public and private schools across the state to submit their designs. Overall, the submissions mark the first time that more than 1,000 student artworks will be on display.
Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. said of the overwhelming number of entries to the exhibition: “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the epitome of moral leadership. He used knowledge, self-confidence, passion, determination and courage as weapons against injustice throughout his life,” he added, “The record number of powerful and thoughtful submissions for this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition testifies to the ongoing impact of Dr. King’s words and actions on generations of New York City students.
Meanwhile, state education commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “Dr. King forged a lasting legacy for the world to learn and emulate. His vision of a better and fairer world is captured and reflected beautifully in the artworks and essays that are included in this exhibition. Rosa added, “The New York students have created a moving celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy – and I am so grateful for their participation. I also want to thank our partners in the General Service Office for once again partnering with us on this project that means so much to so many.
Each year, NYSED invites schools to honor Dr. King’s memory by submitting original student artwork and essays that reflect his teaching. Student art and essays illustrate Dr. King’s Six Principles and Steps of Nonviolence and celebrate his birthday.
To honor Dr. King’s legacy and celebrate Black History Month in February, several student artworks are being displayed by OGS at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, beginning January 17 and throughout Black History Month in February.
Among the highlights of this year’s exhibition are two group projects. Seventy sixth-grade students from the Springs Union Free School District in East Hampton, Long Island, created a video slideshow called “We Lead Nonviolent Lives,” which features artwork and students reading their essays.
Meanwhile, a large mural, titled “MLK 6 Points of Nonviolence Collaborate Mural,” was created by 725 K-5 students enrolled at PS 8 Isaac Varian, located in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, using paper, markers, pens, pencils, crayons, charcoal and glue. Some photos of the mural are included here. The rest is visible here.
Acting OGS Commissioner Jeanette Moy said Dr King and the American civil rights movement have inspired artists to create content about the ongoing fight for fairness and equality for all. “Through the annual exhibition of fine art and essays by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we hope to carry on this important tradition and encourage young creative people in New York State to express themselves through their art.
The public is also invited to watch the New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. broadcast on YouTube. memorial observance. This visually inspiring hour-long tribute to Dr. King, produced by the General Service Office, features New Yorkers and organizations who embody the principles of one of America’s most recognized and effective leaders.
In addition, several service-related programs are held each year by New York State to fulfill Dr. King’s community vision. These include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. statewide food collection, which runs through Feb. 11, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statewide book in car, held from February 21 to April 22.
To mark Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday, the New York Commission on Human Rights also hosted an online event titled “Reclaiming His Dream: Taking Back the Legacy of MLK to Protect Human Rights” on Monday, 17 January 2022.
Also see the latest Out & About section of the Norwood News for other ways to end a day of service in honor of Dr. King.
Meanwhile, the entire art exhibit can be viewed online here.