Usdan Students Win First Prize at Holocaust Museum Art Competition

Three classes of Usdan art students were awarded a First Prize in the annual arts competition at Long Island's Museum of Tolerance Center in Glen Cove.

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Wheatley Heights, NY - May 21, 2014 - "Hope," a multi-panelled artwork created by three classes of visual art students at Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, was awarded a First Prize in the 2014 student art competition at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove, Long Island.  The work was designed and built during the summer of 2013 at the renowned summer arts day camp, which is also an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York.  It was conceived as a visual metaphor for the chronology of events that precipitated the Holocaust and its aftermath. The Usdan winning prize, in the Multi-Media/Still category, was awarded at the Center on Sunday May 18
The project was conceived by Usdan Art Department Chair Rochelle Morgan, who is a child of Holocaust survivors.  It began with a visit to Usdan in August by Ms Morgan's mother and aunt, Lucy Gutman and Rita Kurz, who spoke and were interviewed by the student artists about their experiences in concentration camps. The students wanted to know how people survive horrific life events but still maintain dignity, integrity and compassion; and the artistic task for the students was to find the proper medium and method to best respond to this question. They also wanted their artwork to pay tribute to two women who, in the face of extraordinary abominations, managed not only to salvage their existence but to subsequently live full and productive lives in New York. The result is a large lucite "box" of approximately six feet in length, painted on both sides by students who have depicted scenes that bring the sisters' story to life.
Each spring, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center offers competitions for students centered on a theme of social justice, tolerance,and respect for diversity. The competitions offer students the opportunity to showcase their creative talents. Winning entries are exhibited at the Center and photographed for inclusion in its Competition Journal.The mission of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County is to teach the history of the Holocaust and its lessons, through education and community outreach.  These include the dangers of antisemitism, racism,bullying and all other manifestations of intolerance, promoting resistance to prejudice and advocating respect for every human being.
Usdan Center offers more than 40 programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, creative writing, nature and ecology and chess, annually hosting more than 1,600 students from towns throughout the Tri-State New York area. No audition is needed for most courses, and transportation is provided in air-conditioned buses that depart from most New York-area neighborhoods. One-third of Usdan's students receive scholarship assistance based on family need. Video from many of Usdan's programs and special events, may now be viewed on the Center's website, as well as on YouTube. Also, families can check out Usdan's Facebook site, where additional information and late-breaking news is featured.
Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts has introduced the arts to more than 60,000 Tri-State Area children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of Broadway shows and major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet. In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for advanced high school- age performing and visual artists. These include Music Staff Internships, a Summer Ballet Intensive. Usdan's 47th season begins June 30, 2014 and runs through August 15.