Art Contest

“Your vote matters. If it didn’t, why would some people keep trying to take it away?”

– Representative John C. Lewis on Twitter, July 3, 2018

With injustice and voter disenfranchisement rampant in our country, it is easy to become jaded. We believe that in spite of continued efforts at voter suppression, casting your ballot remains a powerful tool, a tool that we must embrace and celebrate if we want our country to one day fulfill its promise of justice and freedom for all.

Rep. Lewis (1940-2020) believed in the power of individuals and movements to change the course of history and earned the title of the “conscience of Congress.” In his honor, we are excited to announce an art contest, open to all ages, whose goal is to increase voter turnout, especially amongst young people.

In addition to cash prizes (details below) winning designs will be printed on posters, shared on social media and made into t-shirts, and all submissions that meet our criteria will be included in an online gallery.

Our Challenge to Artists of All Ages

Create an original design that does one or more of the following:

  • Inspires people, especially young people, to vote in-person or absentee and reminds them that their vote is a powerful tool despite efforts at suppression.
  • Promotes the movement to lower the legal voting age to sixteen.
  • Highlights youth activists (historical or contemporary) who fought and continue to fight for voting rights, especially for our youngest citizens.

Original designs can be created in any medium but must be submitted digitally. You may include illustrations, photographs, text, slogans, and quotes.

Inspiration

Download our Young Heroes poster, which is free to print and distribute. These twelve leaders are just a few of those working locally and nationally in the spirit of John C. Lewis.
Download our Young Heroes poster, which is free to print and distribute. These twelve leaders are just a few of those working locally and nationally in the spirit of John C. Lewis.
Click here to download the poster. Feel free to distribute!
Click here to download the poster. Feel free to distribute!

Submit your design today!

Deadline: October 1, 2020 (subject to change)

Winners will be notified by October 9th (subject to change). All winning artists will be asked to send a high resolution version of their artwork for printing on posters and t-shirts, etc. Rejoice the Vote! will have the right to distribute and share submissions online and in print globally, while crediting individual artists.

Prizes

National Prizes

Ages 0-8

1st prize $50
Honorable mention $25

Ages 9-11

1st prize $75
Honorable mention $25

Ages 12-14

1st prize $100
Honorable mention $50

Ages 15-18

1st prize $500
Honorable mention $150

Over 18

1st prize $500
Honorable mention $150

National Grand Prize

$500

“You can positively affect and change a social circumstance with art, and it’s vital that a change happens now.”
– Yasiin Bey a.k.a. Mos Def

Hometown Prizes

For residents of Tompkins and Cortland County. These prizes may be won in addition to national prizes.

Ages 0-8

1st prize $50
Honorable mention $25

Ages 9-11

1st prize $75
Honorable mention $25

Ages 12-14

1st prize $100
Honorable mention $50

Ages 15-18

1st prize $300
Honorable mention $100

Over 18

1st prize $300
Honorable mention $100

Hometown Grand Prize

Honoring Kirby Edmonds
$400

If you would like to create your own Hometown awards in your area (with your own sponsors) get in touch!

Kirby Edmonds

About Kirby Edmonds
Kirby was a mighty river that flowed through our community and far beyond, watering the positive seeds of possibility. He led in countless ways: as Managing Partner of TFC Associates (Training for Change), as Senior Fellow and Program Coordinator of the Dorothy Cotton Institute (DCI), co-founder of the Building Bridges network, and as lead facilitator in development of the City of Ithaca Comprehensive Plan.

Jury

The jury (in formation) consists of artists and community organizers from around the country. Stay tuned for more jury bios.

phillip agnew

Phillip Agnew is co-founder of Dream Defenders, which organizes Black and Brown youth to build power in their communities to advance a new vision they have of safety and security – away from prisons, deportation, and war – and towards healthcare, housing, jobs and movement for all. At FAMU he was honored with the University’s prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Leadership Award in 2008. He has been recognized by both EBONY magazine and The Root as one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the nation. Phillip describes art as a place for radical imagination, an instrument of nurturing our hearts, a place of risk, where we can laugh, cry and debate.

Ana Goldsmith

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Ana Goldsmith is a graduate of the Edna Manley School of Fine and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica (BFA) where she majored in Ceramics and Pottery, and she has an MFA in Education from Elmira College. She is currently an art teacher in the Ithaca City School District, working at her alma mater, the Lehman Alternative Community School. Her artwork is influenced by her travels and by her Afro-Latinx heritage.

lola ibrahim

Lola Ibrahim founded ArtUnited, which uses the visual arts to bring together emerging and established contemporary visual artists to create cultural events, talks, and initiatives that inspire social change. After serving for almost two decades in the nonprofit sector in various capacities including youth community engagement, arts-based activism, human rights, gender, and social justice philanthropy, she recognized the need to engage and activate the critical intersection of the visual arts and the social justice sector in a truly global way.

Innosanto Nagara

Innosanto Nagara was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, and moved to the U.S. in 1988 to study zoology at UC Davis. But instead of becoming a zoologist he became an activist and a graphic designer. In 2002 he was a founding member of Design Action Collective, a worker-owned collective union design and strategic communications firm dedicated to social change, which has served countless grassroots campaigns supporting labor rights, the environmental movement, gender equality, racial justice, indigenous rights, and international solidarity. In 2012 Inno wrote and illustrated “A is for Activist” a self-published board book, which became a national bestseller. Follow up books include “Counting on Community” and “My Night in the Planetarium,” a true story from his childhood in Indonesia about Art, and Resistance. His latest book is a highly-illustrated early middle grade chapter book titled “M is for Movement aka Humans Can’t Eat Golf Balls.”

Cal Walker

Cal Walker is one of the most recognizable members of the Ithaca community, having been involved in a vast array of organizations since first moving to Ithaca from Syracuse in 1977, after being born and raised in Civil Rights-era Montgomery, Alabama. Cal founded Village at Ithaca whose mission is to develop strategic community relationships, programs, and services to ensure that all students, particularly Black, Latino/a, low income, and other underserved students can be successful. Cal and his wife Glenda have been foster parents to around 50 young people. Cal, along with John Simon, have long been known as reading rock stars in Ithaca and Tompkins County, NY and are adored by children and families across the region.

Submit your design today!

About

This contest is presented by Rejoice the Vote! under the leadership of Jeff Furman.

The best way to honor John Lewis is to continue the work. And the best way for me to do that given my background and age is to support and encourage the younger generation who are engaged in that work.”

– Jeff Furman

Second from left, Rep. John C. Lewis; second from right, Jeff Furman

Graphic design and marketing provided by Shira and Ari Evergreen of www.shirari.com.