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The City of Akron 27th Holocaust Arts & Writing Contest


City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of stephanie york
Published: 11-20-2014

            Akron, Ohio (November 20, 2014) - Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Michael Derr, Chairman of the City of Akron Holocaust Commemoration Committee, are pleased to announce the 2015 Arts & Writing Contest, an arts and writing based competition for residents of Akron and Summit County in grades 6-12. This year’s Contest theme is Helpers and Bystanders: Rescue and Indifference.

            This is the 27th consecutive year that the City of Akron has commemorated the events surrounding the Holocaust.  “By holding this event every year, we hope to foster awareness and meaningful reflection of the lessons of the Holocaust,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic

            Every year, committee members continue to encourage area students to study the stories as told by survivors, since survivors numbers are dwindling and personal accounts are few. Many of these stories can be found on our webpage,, (click on Resources).  Since1989, over 11,000 students from Akron and Summit County have studied the Holocaust and submitted art, writing, or multimedia entries in response to a variety of themes.  

            “It’s vital, as a community, to share the history and lessons of the Holocaust to area school children,”  noted Derr. “I find it even more rewarding to see how these young people take these lessons and create meaningful works of art and writing. It’s a unique and important program that the City of Akron and its Mayor have supported for 27 years.”   Derr, who is also the Membership Manager for the Akron Art Museum, is serving his third year as chairperson of this committee.

            Last year, the contest expanded to include 90 students from Akron’s sister-city, Chemnitz, Germany, with German students also receiving awards for their submissions.  This past May, Derr and Billy Soule, Assistant to the Mayor for Community Relations, traveled to Chemnitz where they met with government, community, and schools officials. During their visit they discussed greater participation in the 2015 contest, and their hope is to receive 150 (or more) student entries from Germany.

            “We recognize the importance of this contest as a means for future generations to recount the stories that we have been told, so that there is never another tragedy such as the Holocaust,” noted Plusquellic.   “For the past 27 years, Akron area students have been participating in this contest, learning about the lessons of the Holocaust, and expressing themselves through art and writing.  This year’s contest, focused on Helpers and Bystanders, will allow students and teachers to delve into the real consequences of action and inaction – a relevant lesson for every generation.”

             Students in middle school [grades 6-8] or high school [grades 9-12] can enter the contest using art, writing or multimedia presentations. Entries are due on January 30, 2015 by 6:00 PM.  The annual awards ceremony and commemoration will take place April 14, 2015 at the Akron Summit County Public Library’s Main Library, downtown Akron. Winning entries will also be displayed on site.  First place winners will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C.; and, will visit the United States Holocaust Museum as well as enjoy a tour of historical monuments and sites.

            For information about the 2015 City of Akron Arts and Writing Contest contact, Terry Albanese, Assistant to the Mayor for Education, Health, and Families at (330) 375-2345 or at [email protected].

For further information, contact:
stephanie york
communications director
Phone: 330-375-2345
E-mail: [email protected]

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