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January 14, 2022
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JP O'Hare

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New York State’s 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition Draws Record-Breaking Number of Submissions

2,700 Pieces of Student Art Submitted from More than 90 Schools Statewide

 Exhibit can be Viewed Online Here

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) and Office of General Services (OGS) today announced a record-breaking number of students participated in the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition. Dr. King’s commitment to nonviolent advocacy served as the inspiration for 2,700 students from more than 90 public and private schools across the state to submit their creations. These submissions will mark the first time more than 1,000 pieces of student artwork will be on display.  

Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the epitome of moral leadership. He used knowledge, self-confidence, passion, determination, and courage as weapons against injustice throughout his life. The record-breaking number of powerful, thoughtful submissions for this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition are a testament to the continuing impact of Dr. King’s words and actions on generations of New York students.” 

“Dr. King forged an enduring legacy for the world to learn from and emulate,” said State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa. “His vision of a better, more just world, is captured and reflected beautifully in the artwork and essays that are included in this exhibit. New York’s students have created a moving celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy – and I am so grateful for their participation. I would also like to thank our partners at the Office of General Services for once again partnering with us on this project that means so much to so many people.”

“Dr. King and the American Civil Rights Movement have inspired artists to create content on the continuing struggle for fairness and equality for all,” Acting OGS Commissioner Jeanette Moy said. “Through the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fine Arts and Essay Exhibition, we hope to pass on this important tradition and encourage New York State’s young creatives to express themselves through their art.” 

Each year, NYSED invites schools to honor Dr. King’s memory by submitting original student artworks and essays that reflect Dr. King’s teaching. The student art and essays illustrate Dr. King’s Six Principles and Steps of Nonviolence and celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. 

The entire exhibit is posted online on the Empire State Plaza website.

To honor Dr. King’s legacy and celebrate Black History Month in February, several pieces of student art will also be exhibited by OGS on the Empire State Plaza in Albany starting January 17 and throughout Black History Month in February.

Among the highlights of this year’s exhibit are two group projects:

  • Seventy sixth-grade students from the Springs Union Free School District in East Hampton, Long Island, created a video slideshow titled “We Lead Nonviolent Lives” that showcases artwork and students reading their essays.
  • A large mural titled “MLK 6 Points of Nonviolence Collaborate Mural” was created by 725 K-5 students enrolled at Public School 8 Isaac Varian in the Bronx using paper, markers, pens, pencils, crayons, charcoal, and glue.

The public is also invited to watch the broadcast of the New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance. This visually inspiring one-hour tribute to Dr. King, produced by the Office of General Services, showcases New Yorkers and organizations that embody the principles of one of America’s most recognized and effective leaders.   

Also, several service-related programs are held each year by New York State to fulfill Dr. King’s vision of community. These include the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Statewide Food Drive, which runs through February 11, 2022, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Book Drive, held February 21 to April 22, 2022.