PATERSON, NJ- Students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade throughout Passaic County have been invited to express their creativity and celebrate Black History Month by entering a very special art and essay contest.

The contest, sponsored by the Inner Faith Performing Arts Center (IPAC) and Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ruby Cotton, has been an annual event for over a decade and is, according to IPAC Founder Rahsona Elder, a “creative, intellectually stimulating, and innovative approach to celebrating black history.”

Elder, born and raised in Paterson, founded IPAC in 1998 on the belief that “all God’s children are stars,” and that by offering the city’s youngest residents  the same opportunities that existed in more suburban areas they could “empower their inner spirits,” and make sure that “no young person in Paterson becomes hopeless.”

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This contest, she told TAPinto Paterson, follows that mission by offering students the opportunity to celebrate their history and culture through creativity, specifically art and writing.

“It’s important to keep black history alive and present for youth,” and this contest, Elder has said previously, “helps them have a better knowledge of and create a rich dialogue celebrating black history.”

All participating students are asked to consider the following quotes, and select one of them to base their own, original, work on. For the students up to third grade the submission can be in the form of a two-dimensional art project, while the older students, from fourth grade, may express their creativity either through an art project or a written essay.

The selected quotes for the 2020 contest are:

  • "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." Booker T. Washington
  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “I am where I am because of the bridge that I crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B wells was a bridge. Madame CJ Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge.” Oprah Winfrey
  • "Everybody is somebody’s everything.” Chance the Rapper
  • “Time is real, we can't rewind it...Out of everybody I met who told the truth? Time did." - Common
  • “Change will not come. If we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” President Obama
  • “When they go low. We go high.” Michelle Obama
  • "I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but how they recover when they fall." Serena Williams

Entries are to be dropped off at the Paterson Museum on Thursday, February 20, between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. A total of five winners will be selected by a panel of judges and recognized at a final awards ceremony, also at the Paterson Museum, on Thursday, February 28, at 4:00 p.m.

The contest is being held in partnership with the Paterson Museum and the Paterson Neighborhood Assistance Office.

Additional questions or for clarification on rules for entry readers may email the InnerFaith Performing Arts Center.


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