LEONARDTOWN, MD – High school seniors across St. Mary’s County are invited to showcase their artistic talents in the 2nd Annual St. Mary’s County Just Society Art Contest. The competition is timed to coincide with the Maryland Emancipation Day ceremony on November 1, 2023. The ceremony, scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Old Jail Museum in Leonardtown, aims to celebrate themes of equity and justice.

The highlight of the Emancipation Day ceremony will be the unveiling of brass “stopping stones” dedicated to five local individuals who, during the 1800s, risked their lives to escape slavery in St. Mary’s County. The art contest invites students to submit unique pieces reflecting freedom’s importance in a just society.

Submissions will be judged in three distinct categories: visual art, language art, and performance art. Winners will be announced at the November 1st event. Cash prizes, funded by local organizations, will be awarded to winners in both the official contest and the “People’s Choice” category, which will be determined by public voting.

Interested students should contact the contest committee via email at Justsociety.stmarys@gmail.com for essential details, including submission deadlines, art guidelines, and any additional required materials. Additionally, they are encouraged to visit the Old Jail Museum in Leonardtown for inspiration and to learn more about the Freedom Seekers. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and offers free admission.

The deadline for contest entries is 5 p.m. on October 1, 2023. Starting October 2, the public is invited to view the submitted art pieces at the Old Jail Museum and cast their votes in person for the “People’s Choice” award.

The contest and the Emancipation Day event are presented in collaboration with numerous local organizations, including the St. Mary’s County Museum Division, the Friends of St. Clement’s Island & Piney Point Museums, the Unified Committee on Afro-American Contributions (UCAC), St. Mary’s County NAACP #7025, St. Mary’s Ryken High School, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, among others.

For more media information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Karen Stone, the Museum Division Manager, at karen.stone@stmaryscountymd.gov or call (240) 925-0293.

By organizing this event, the participating institutions hope to engage the youth of St. Mary’s County in a dialogue about social justice while fostering artistic expression.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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