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Clarksburg Middle Schooler Wins Best in Show at International Art Competition

In its fourth annual ArtEffect Project competition, the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes has awarded five students with cash prizes totaling $15,500 for their artwork lauding individuals who have made a significant impact in history, among them was Clarksburg’s Meze Ivit, a 7th grader at Hallie Wells Middle School.

Ivit won the Junior Division’s $2,500 Best in Show prize for her artwork “Claudette Colvin – an Unsung Hero.” Claudette Colvin is a woman who refused to give up her seat during a time of segregation. Through the use of oil and acrylic paint and a photo, Ivit presented a photo of Colvin in a bus and overlaying text with words of empowerment.

"This is an inspired an ambitious image that is high in creative interpretation,” said Lowell Milken Center’s fellow and judge Madeline Hanington about Ivit’s work. “It combines the context around Claudette Colvin's story including the bus and story of her arrest, as well as capturing her courageous spirit."

"At the young age of 15, Claudette refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus 9 months before Rosa Parks,” wrote Ivit her in her impact statement about her winning submission. “She was arrested and was one of four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle. It was ruled that Montgomery Alabama’s segregated bus system was unconstitutional. That’s what inspired me to choose her."

The ArtEffect Project gives students across the globe the opportunity to share their creative interpretations of unsung heroes throughout history, compels them to think critically about storytelling, and encourages them to share their work with their community in the hopes of making a positive impact.

“In applying their own unique artistic capabilities to interpret unsung heroes’ accomplishments, students develop a more personal connection to the history they learn about,” said LMC Executive Director Norm Conard. “We’re incredibly proud to present

The competition’s $6,000 grand prize was awarded to 12th grader America Garcia of Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, Georgia for her interpretation of Hiawatha’s story. Hiawatha was a Native American chief who eased tensions between five Iroquois tribes and united them as one.

In Honolulu, Dakota Gavin was gifted $3,000 for the Senior Division’s Best in Show prize. The 12th grader at Hawaii Baptist Academy honored Cher Ami, a homing pigeon used by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in World War I, in his piece “Glorifica.” In the digitally painted piece, Gavin illustrated Cher Ami flying above Major Charles White Whittlesey and the men who followed him into battle.

The Senior Division’s $2,500 Second Place prize was given to 10th grader Julia Bhuiyan of Plymouth High School in Canton, MI. In her piece, “Crossing the Limits,” Bhuiyan created a paper collage with watercolor and acrylic paints to visually tell the story of Rosli Naf, a nurse who saved several Jewish children during the Holocaust. Bhuiyan used newspaper cutouts of articles about the Holocaust, the Red Cross, women’s rights, and children as a base to form the portrait of Naf.

A homeschooled 8th grader, Alana Zunikoff, from Reisterstown, MD. received the Junior Division’s $1,500 Second Place prize. Zunikoff’s piece “From Labor To Liberty” was formed with a paper collage and pencil and pays tribute to Florence Kelley, a social reformer who pushed for labor laws and improved working conditions for the underprivileged.

The five winning students were selected out of hundreds of middle and high school students who participated in the international creative visual arts competition. The judging panel consisted of LMC’s executive leadership, distinguished professionals in the art history, design, and museum education fields, and representatives from the Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Art Center College of Design.

Captions: “Claudette Colvin–an Unsung Hero” by Meze Ivit a 7th grader at Hallie Wells Middle School in Clarksburg won the Junior Division’s $2,500 Best in Show prize in the international ArtEffect competition.

Photo courtesy Lowel Milken Center