I have been participating in community projects for a Pittsburgh based intercultural dialogue organization for more than 4 years. In this particular project, I and my team members organized Annual Art and Creative Writing Contests for middle school students (grade 5~8) for two consecutive years. The contest aims to create awareness, engage students in real-world issues, and to encourage them to express themselves creatively. My roles in these contest project were various, preparing the theme, developing contest package and selecting and facilitating the jury for the art division. Carnegie Mellon Professors Dan Boyarski and Dylan Vitone helped me in the jury process.
The themes of past years’ Art and Creative Writing Contest include “A tale of dialogue: tell your dialogue story” and “Understanding Others and Appreciating Differences”.
The following includes some excerpts from contest participants.
“The title (of my painting) is Diversity Brings Us Together. It’s called this because each puzzle piece separately doesn’t mean anything, but when you bring them all together it makes a whole. Separately, you just see that one person, but without each different puzzle piece, we wouldn’t be complete.”
– Joy Pedrow, First place winner of the 2007 Art Contest, 8th grader from Gateway Middle School.
“My artwork communicates the idea of gathering people from different countries. Also, my art work expresses where they came from and what they experienced.”
-Bria Williams, Third place winner of the 2007 Art contest, 7th grader from Gateway Middle Schooll.
“If I understood correctly the purpose of this essay was to get people to act, to take a stand, and work toward accepting others with their differences and their flaws. [snip] If this essay I have written has done nothing else, it has opened my eyes and made me contemplate and even changed some of my views and opinion on the importance of this topic. I will do my part to make people appreciate others as well as understand other cultures.”
-Lizzie Hamlett, First place winner of the 2007 essay contest, 8th grader from The Campus School of Carlow University.