East Valley Jewish Community Center partnered with Chandler-Gilbert Community College on a new art contest for students in East Valley middle and high schools. “Stuck@Home, But My Imagination is Free,” is a competition of student art focused on COVID-19 and how the young artists experience the pandemic.

EVJCC hopes to have students across the East Valley submit pieces with a unique interpretation of the pandemic.

The submission deadline is Aug. 30, and the winners will be announced in September 2020. Entries will be showcased in an online exhibit for now. An in-person exhibit will be arranged when it is safe to do so. The guidelines for submission can be found at evjcc.org/artshow. The three top entries in each category — middle school and high school — will win a cash prize.

“After seeing my children and many others stuck at home in a quasi sci-fi situation that no one could have predicted, I wanted to encourage our youth to find ways to engage their creativity, dreams and passion,” Rabbi Michael Beyo, EVJCC CEO, said in a press release about the exhibit. “The partnership with CGCC was a natural one since we have been strategic partners for a number of years on many educational fronts and they have the faculty expertise to be able to judge the art competition.”

“I believe art has power, and it can bring us together even when we are apart,” said curator Roja Najafi, a professor at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, in the release. “Art can heal, and it can guide us through this crisis. I hope this art contest energizes our students and our community to use the power of their imagination to stay strong, safe and united during this time of crisis.”

The competition is open in terms of subjects, media and styles. Both traditional and contemporary styles are encouraged. Any theme related to the pandemic is fitting for an entry. The entries will be judged based on the theme, artistic merit, design, originality, technical excellence and content. JN

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