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Metro Creative Graphics

New York state's 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition features work of 3,930 young artists & writers


Thu, Jan 12th 2023 10:35 am

2,614 pieces of student art submitted from more than 100 schools statewide

√ Exhibit can be viewed online here

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) and Office of General Services (OGS) announced the opening of the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition.

A press release stated, “Dr. King’s commitment to nonviolent advocacy served as the inspiration for 3,920 students from more than 100 public and private schools across the state to submit their creations. The submissions, which include several group projects, mark just the second time more than 1,000 pieces of student artwork will be on display and online for this exhibition.”

OGS Commissioner Jeanette Moy said, “Artists and authors whose works honor Dr. King and his contributions to the civil rights movement play a crucial role in keeping his legacy and the fight for equality alive in our hearts and minds. Through our partnership with the state Education Department, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition encourages New York state students to use their creativity to express their admiration for Dr. King and pass on his message of hope to the next generation.”

Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young Jr. said, “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an icon, legend and inspiration to generations because of his unwavering moral leadership, courage and determination. Youth today should learn from his knowledge and passion, and how to use these traits as tools against injustice. It is inspiring to see in a tangible, visual way that our students understand the enduring relevance of Dr. King’s message in their society today. These thoughtful and thought-provoking works should remind all of us of his dreams and goals for this nation.”

State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “Each year, as we celebrate Dr. King, we need to remember and reflect on all the lessons he offered the world and pay tribute to his enduring legacy. New York students of all ages have used their unique artistic talents to create a moving tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of an America of equality, community and peace. I am grateful for their enthusiasm and participation, and encourage everyone to visit this exhibit – either in-person or online. I thank our partners at the Office of General Services for once again partnering with us on this project.”

Each year, NYSED invites schools to honor King’s memory by submitting original student artworks and essays that reflect King’s teaching. The student art and essays illustrate King’s “Six Principles and Steps of Nonviolence,” and celebrate King’s birthday. 

The entire exhibit is posted online at www.empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking.

To honor King’s legacy and celebrate Black History Month in February, several pieces of student art will also be exhibited by OGS on the Empire State Plaza in Albany starting this week and throughout Black History Month in February. 

Among the highlights of this year’s exhibit are two group projects:

√ A “Peace Tree,” inspired by King’s teachings, was created by 267 kindergarten and first-grade students from the Greenburgh Central School District’s Lee F. Jackson Elementary School in White Plains (view image here). 

√ An art installation representing “how much can be achieved when diverse people work together for a better future” that depicts 150 doves flying together as one dove in the colors of the rainbow was created by 150 second- and fifth-grade students from PS 8 Isaac Varian School in the Bronx (view image here). 

The public is also invited to watch New York state’s annual commemoration of the life and legacy of King, which will be presented as a statewide broadcast event, “New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Paths to Change,” airing on PBS stations throughout New York beginning Sunday, Jan. 15. The public also may attend a free screening of the tribute on Friday, Jan. 13, at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, or watch the program beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16.

The press release added, “As in years past, New York state is hosting several service-related programs to fulfill Dr. King’s vision of community, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Food Drive, which concludes Friday, Feb. 10; and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Book Drive, which begins Monday, Feb. 20, through Friday, April 21.”

Visit empirestateplaza.ny.gov/nyking, or follow @NYSMLK on Facebook and Twitter for PBS member station program updates and additional information about New York’s celebration.

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