What Does Freedom Mean to Me? Teen Winners of National Art Competition Announced


Teen Winners of National Art Competition Announced

Washington – Ten teenagers have won scholarships and national recognition in the Expressions of Freedom art contest commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The National Park Service, in partnership with the National Park Foundation’s African American Experience Fund challenged teens across the country to explore the question, “What does freedom mean to you?” through photography, film and poetry.

“This contest challenged students to share their personal reflections on what freedom means to them – with truly inspiring results,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said.  “Their art conveys the enduring themes of our nation’s struggles for freedom and equality.” 

The competition offered youth an opportunity to connect with the many national parks that tell the stories of the nation’s journey from Civil War to civil rights – from Stones River National Battlefield to the General Grant National Memorial, from Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, which spelled out emancipation as the U.S. government’s new policy, a vital step on the gradual path to freedom for all Americans.

“Through this unique competition, we honor the American civil rights journey that began more than 150 years ago,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.  “The National Park Foundation and its African American Experience Fund applaud the outstanding creativity of the youth participants and we are proud to help America’s National Park System ensure the important stories of our nation’s history are forever told.”              

The winners were selected from more than 250 submissions. First place winners are Arianna Martinez, 17 years old from Tuscon, Ariz. for photography; Evan Gedrich, 16 years old, and Joshua Pearce, 16 years old, from Brick, N.J. for digital short film; and Afoma Okoye, 17 years old from Kennesaw, Ga. for poetry.  Each first place winner receives a $2,500 academic scholarship. 

Second place winners are Hamza Moulvi, 17 years old from Corvallis, Ore. for photography; Jacob Perry, 16 years old of Nashville, Tenn. for digital short film; and Katreen Duback, 17 years old of Fresno, Calif. for poetry. Second place winners receive a $1,000 academic scholarship.

Third place winners are Mayra Penaranda, 18 years old of Miami, Fla. for photography; Samera Mohamed, 16 years old of Nashville, Tenn. for digital short film; and Phoebe Jarman, 17 years old of Crystal Lake, Ill. for poetry.

All winning entries also receive an America the Beautiful - the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass and will be featured on the National Park Service and the African American Experience Fund’s websites.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites -- all protected in America’s over 400 national parks.  Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.  We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.  Join us in supporting your national parks -- this is your land. www.nationalparks.org.