Freedom Center hosts Picture Freedom contest

Art contest celebrates the many forms of freedom and equality past, present and future

CINCINNATI – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is hosting Picture Freedom, an art contest to celebrate the many forms of freedom and equality. The contest is open to students 13-years old and older in grades 7 through 12 and begins September 11. All entries must be received by November 30. Twelve finalists will have their works of art featured in an exhibit at the Freedom Center.

Picture Freedom, sponsored by Toyota, Macy’s and ArtsWave, will encourage students to explore what freedom and equality mean to them and to express that through works of art. Through the Freedom Center’s extensive collection of historical content, students will become acquainted with countless heroes in the struggle for freedom throughout history and across the globe.

Entries may be submitted through and must be received by November 30. A panel of judges will select twelve finalists before narrowing down to one grand prize winner who will receive $3,500 and a round trip for two to the February 5, 2015 opening of the Picture Freedom exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. All twelve finalists will have their artwork featured in the Picture Freedom exhibit.

“Picture Freedom will challenge and inspire today’s youth to understand and reflect upon the rich historical heritage of the struggle for freedom and human rights,” says Clarence G. Newsome, PhD, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “In the process of researching and reflecting on the many meanings of freedom, we hope it ignites in these teens a passionate dedication to the betterment of our world.”

September 11 is a time of remembrance as Americans and those around the world reflect on a terrible day where the freedom that so many take for granted was threatened for some and taken from others. September 11 caused some to react with fear, ignorance and hate in the blind defense of freedom. Others reacted with compassion, reverence and determination in the pursuit of freedom. It is a struggle that continues today and a struggle this nation has seen before.

“Over the past four centuries, many in this nation witnessed their freedom being deprived of them through detention, violence and terrorism,” says Dr. Newsome. “Lives were shattered on both sides during the centuries of slavery in this country and the decades of racial discrimination.”

As students complete their works of art for Picture Freedom they’ll discover the challenges endured by those during the centuries-long struggle against slavery and for civil rights. It will also reveal to them the many efforts to overcome those obstacles including the Underground Railroad and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the process, the hope is that many students become passionate advocates for the quest for all-inclusive freedom.

As the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center celebrates its 10th anniversary and the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Picture Freedom contributes to a discourse on freedom and equality at momentous times in the history of the United States.

“Slavery, civil rights, September 11. These are somber moments of adversity in our nation’s history,” says Dr. Newsome. “But they are also moments that have been triumphantly overcome by a nation that has come together through courage, cooperation and perseverance to liberate people from oppression, violence and terror.”

For more information and to submit an entry, visit Only one entry per person aged 13-years or older in grade 7 through 12. Deadline for submissions is November 30. For a complete list of contest rules visit