The Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission announces annual creative contests for students to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission, in partnership with the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) invites West Virginia students to create original poster, art, music, film, or essay submissions to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Essay, Music, and Film Contests

The 2023 Project on Racism is presented by the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission and the YWCA Wheeling. The contest accepts entries for essays, music, and five-minute films.

Any student from grades 1-12 attending public, private, parochial, or home school in West Virginia may enter. Students under the age of 20 enrolled in a high school correspondence / Test Assessing Secondary Completion program also qualify to compete.

All entries must focus on the following quote from Martin Luther King Jr. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

Entries may be submitted by U.S. Postal Service, fax, email, or hand delivery. Each entry must be accompanied by a completed contact information form and the original work. All entries in this category must be received before midnight Nov. 14, 2022.

Entry requirements, contest rules, contact form, and submission instructions can be found here.

Winners will be announced before the end of December 2022 and will be invited to participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission Awards Luncheon on January 14, 2023.

Poster Contest

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission and the Beta Beta Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, present the 39th annual poster competition.

West Virginia students from grades K-12 may enter the poster contest. The art must focus on the following quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Posters must incorporate the quote. Although the artwork must be original, teachers are encouraged to assist students to develop original slogans or captions used in the poster.

The entry may be in any format. The piece can be created with pencil, crayon, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic, serigraph woodblock, photography, or mixed media. The artist must explain the style and the selected media on the entry form, which must be taped to the back of the artwork. Entries without this information will be disqualified.

Submissions in this category must be postmarked on or before Thursday, Dec. 1. Judging begins Dec. 2. Winning entries will be exhibited at the Great Hall of the West Virginia State Culture Center from January 2023 to February 2023. The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission will also create a 2023 calendar using the winning entries from the poster contest and winners will be invited to participate in the January 14, 2023 Awards Luncheon.

Contact form, contest rules, and submission instructions can be found here.

For guidelines and entry forms for all the contests, visit the MLK Commission tab on HHOMA’s website at minorityaffairs.wv.gov.

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