The East Valley Jewish Community Center (EVJCC) and Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC), are inviting middle and high school students in the East Valley to submit artwork reflecting their experience and interpretation on how their lives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 “Stuck @Home, But My Imagination is Free” is an East Valley juried art exhibition open to East Valley students entering grades 7-12 in the fall. The submission deadline is Aug. 30; winners will be announced in September 2020. Entries will be showcased in an online exhibit and, as soon as is feasible, in an in-person exhibit. Submission guidelines are available at Cash prizes will be awarded for the top 3 entries in each category (Middle School and High School).  

“I believe art has power and it can bring us together even when we are apart. Art can heal, and it can guide us through this crisis.”

“After seeing my children and many others stuck at home in a quasi sci-fi situation that no one could have predicted, I wanted to encourage our youth to find ways to engage their creativity, dreams and passion,” said Rabbi Michael Beyo, EVJCC CEO. “The partnership with CGCC was a natural one since we have been strategic partners for a number of years on many educational fronts and they have the faculty expertise to be able to judge the art competition.”

 Roja Najafi, Ph.D., a curator, art historian and the art history residential faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, adds,  “I believe art has power and it can bring us together even when we are apart. Art can heal, and it can guide us through this crisis. I hope this art contest energizes our students and our community to use the power of their imagination to stay strong, safe and united during this time of crisis.”

Najafi and Beyo are both members of the art competition committee, along with Louis Mendoza, the drawing and painting resident faculty at CGCC; Shalynn Reynolds, CGCC director of theater arts; and Christy Wittmer, who teaches ceramics at CGCC and Phoenix College. 

 The exhibition is a celebration of imagination and creativity. All subjects, media and styles are eligible, from traditional to contemporary. Submitted works can be a creative and free interpretation of the artists’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and can touch upon any related themes, such as the impact the pandemic has on private or public lives, its ongoing social consequences or signs of hope. Entries are judged based on the theme, artistic merit, design, originality, technical excellence and content. 

We can’t wait to see the creativity of East Valley students!