Arts & Culture, News

Memphis Jewish Federation Launches 13th Annual Holocaust Art and Essay Competition

by JCPConnect-

With her piece entitled Life in a Jar, Colonial Middle School student Whitney Ousley took the first place ribbon in Art in Memphis Jewish Federation’s 2021 Holocaust Art & Essay Competition. Submissions for this year’s contest, themed Safeguarding the Sacred: Perspectives on Holocaust Memory, must be submitted by close of business, Monday, March 21. Details can be found here.

Memphis Jewish Federation has announced its 13th Annual Holocaust Art & Essay Competition for Mid-South and Tennessee students in grades 6-12.

This year’s contest theme is Safeguarding the Sacred: Perspectives on Holocaust Memory. Students are invited to consider how Holocaust memory is transmitted through the generations and / or the threats posed to memory by Holocaust denial and trivialization. Contest entrants may explore one or more avenues of memory preservation: personal testimony, diaries, hidden archives, judicial prosecutions, historical accounts, visual arts, etc. and consider the opportunities and challenges posed by these methods to the future of Holocaust memory.

Middle school students in grades 6-8 are invited to submit artwork, and high school students in grades 9-12 are invited to submit essays. Cash prizes for the top winners are made possible by the Kaethe Mela Family Memorial Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Memphis.

“With all the disturbing Holocaust distortion we are currently seeing around us, we felt it was critical to focus on Holocaust memory for this year’s contest,” said Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, executive vice president of Federation. “We hope that students exploring this theme will internalize the scope and magnitude of the Holocaust and the paramount need to protect its memory.”

For the first time, the contest will also entertain digital art entries, with specific guidelines. As in previous years, all artwork entered into the competition will be displayed in the lobby of the Memphis Jewish Community Center.

Contest winners will be recognized at the 60th Annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration on Thursday, April 28, 2022, featuring Elisha Wiesel. As the son of Elie Wiesel, Elisha has assumed his father’s mission of safeguarding the memory of the Holocaust.

The first-place winning essay will be published in the program booklet and the first-place winning artwork will adorn the cover of the program booklet. The winning essay will also be published in The Hebrew Watchman and in JCP Connect, Jewish Community Partners’ online blog ( and shared on social media.

All entries will be judged according to the following criteria: creativity, passion, and relevance to the topic. Full guidelines and resources for entrants are available here and should be carefully reviewed before submission.

Students should email their essays to Non-digital artwork should be dropped off at the Memphis Jewish Federation office, 6560 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, 38138. Digital artwork should be submitted digitally to following all the specific guidelines. All entries are due by the close of business on Monday, March 21. Please include entrants’ name, grade, school, and contact information.

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