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Contact: Marsha McDevitt-Stredney
Marketing & Communications
State Library of Ohio
Tel: 614-644-6875

March 16, 2011
State Library of Ohio Announces Winners of Forever Free Emancipation Poster Contest

The State Library of Ohio is pleased to announce the winners of the Forever Free Emancipation Poster contest. The Emancipation Poster contest was held in collaboration with the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) Packard Library and in conjunction with the Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation exhibit at the State Library of Ohio March 7 – April 15, 2011. Students from the CCAD were invited to submit posters that would visually communicate Emancipation to a slave in 1863 unable to read. The winning entries were announced at the exhibit’s opening program and reception on March 9, 2011.

Matthew Houston received first place for his work entitled Singing on the Great Day and a $50 gift card to Utrecht Art Supplies store. Jerrica Fields placed second for her piece entitled Freedom Quilt, and Joshua Kingsbury placed third for his entry New Day. Jerrica and Joshua each received a $25 gift card to Utrecht Art Supplies store.

“Matthew, Jerrica, and Joshua each expressed visions of survival and hope in their work,” said Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, Director of Marketing & Communications. “The students researched slavery, the Civil War, and the Emancipation Proclamation. Their work clearly communicates an understanding of the objective of the contest and compassion for those that suffered during that oppressive time in our history.”

Matthew Houston received First Place for his work entilted Singing on the Great Day. Jerrica Fields received Second Place for her work entitled Freedom Quilt.

Joshua Fields received Third Place for his work entitled New Day.

Click image to view larger image and Artist Statements.

In his artist statement Matthew expressed, “When I created this image I was inspired by the words of Booker T. Washington as he remembered the days just before the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. He said ‘as the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night.’”

“Freedom quilts were supposedly used in the underground railroad,” wrote Jerrica Fields in her artist statement. “They were said to have contained secret messages in the patterns that helped runaway slaves escape to the North. I wanted my piece to somewhat mimic a quilt by using a colorful paper collage for the background.  I wanted to make a narrative that read like a picture book, from left to right, from bondage to freedom.”

“The night sky in the foreground is a view that every human being is familiar with and empowers the individual to reach for something higher, something greater,” explained Joshua Kingsbury in his artist statement.  “The emphasized constellation and the north star it encompasses are both the symbols of and the guide to this previously denied liberty. In the background the outline of the swallow in flight represents freedom, and the sunrise alludes to a brighter future ahead and the unknowable opportunities that await.”

Matthew Houston’s Singing on the Great Day will be on display at the Hammond Harkin Gallery in Bexley for a short time following the conclusion of the exhibit on April 15, 2011. All three posters will remain on permanent display at the State Library of Ohio.

The judges for this competition were Dina Bailey, Johnny DiLoretto, and Pheoris West

Dina Bailey is the curator for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. She oversees all exhibition and collection related activities surrounding the Freedom Center. Ms. Bailey has a Bachelors degree in Middle/Secondary Education - English, a Masters in Development of Anthropology and Social Transformation, and a certification in Museum Studies. Her personal passion lies in life-long learning and the pursuit of freedom for all people

Johnny DiLoretto is the man about town on FOX 28's Good Day Columbus. During the run of the show, Johnny has highlighted many of central Ohio's finest artists and arts organizations. He graduated from OSU in 1997 with a degree in English and Film Studies and through the course of his career has worked as both a restaurant and film critic. In addition to the morning broadcast, Johnny can be heard on WCBE's award-winning Cinema Classics discussing relevant films from both the past and present.

Pheoris West is an associate professor at The Ohio State University in the Department of Art's Painting and Drawing program. His work has appeared in numerous art venues, including the Philadelphia Museum, Boston Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, MuseoCivico D'Arts Contemporaneo Di Gibillina, Palermo, Italy, and the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center. Professor West served as curator of Homage to Jazz in 1999 at the Martin Luther King Center in Columbus. He has served on the National Endowment of the Arts Expansion Arts Panel, the International Juror National Exhibition of Zimbabwe, and the Ohio Arts Council.

More information about the contest criteria and rules go to the Forever Free Emancipation Poster webpage.