Freedom Center Announces 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest

CINCINNATI, OH – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announced today that they are now accepting entries for the 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest—a nationwide student art competition challenging students to create works of art capturing America’s struggle for inclusive freedom and equality.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center frontThe Picture Freedom Art Contest is sponsored by Toyota and was developed in 2015 by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to help students draw connections from the Underground Railroad to the Civil Rights Movement to the modern day fight against slavery—providing them with a unique opportunity to learn from America’s struggle for freedom and human rights in an engaging way. Students will also have access to online resources and the National Underground Railroad
Freedom Center’s extensive collection of historical resources and exhibitions, enabling them to become better acquainted with freedom’s heroes in person and online.

“Picture Freedom challenges and inspires today’s youth to learn about and reflect upon the great sacrifices made by freedom’s heroes of past generations,” says Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “Their creative use of paint, canvas and other mediums to construct original works of art will empower a new generation of freedom heroes to continue the work toward inclusive freedom for all.”

The winning artworks will be featured in a special exhibit on display beginning July 2016 in the museum’s second and third floor galleries. Last year’s grand prize winner, Jasmyne Leigh Laguna, elaborated on her experience participating in the competition, “I have read and studied about the people that fought and hoped for these unjust times to change. Education and awareness are two of the most important foundations of freedom. The sacrifices of those who stood up for equality paved the path for others to follow,” says the Tucson, Arizona native. “It is important to remember all of the people that brought us to this point in time. We have achieved so much in the hope that we can all come together as equals and live in peace forever. We, as a nation, have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go before we can keep moving forward as a community, walking hand in hand with our heads held high.”

As the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center enters its second decade of operation and the nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, the 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest will help visitors and students connect to the current and ongoing discourse on freedom and equality at momentous times in the history of the United States. “We take great pride in supporting Picture Freedom, which visually reminds us that freedom is never free,” says David A. Pickler, president, American Public Education Foundation. “Our proud history as a nation attests to the many patriots across time who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedoms and protect our democracy.”

The 2016 Picture Freedom Art Contest is sponsored by Toyota and is now accepting entries. Visit for more information on rules and entry forms. Thank you to our sponsor and community partners: Toyota, the American Public Education Foundation and the State Boards of Education.