Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Creative Expression Contest

Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King through creative works

In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the GSSM Committee for Inclusive Excellence hosted a Creative Expression Contest. Students, faculty, and staff voted for the creative work they felt best celebrates Dr. King's life and legacy.

Congratulations to Abigail Bailey, artist of the winning submission!

Black and White

Abigail Bailey

Contest submission titled "Black and White." A collage of black-and-white images from old newspapers next to the text from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Artist Statement: I wanted to show the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s work in a black and white piece, since so many people at the time were caught in that sort of mindset. It was always them vs us, us vs them, black vs white, white vs black, but at the end of the day, we all bleed the same. (I also don't own the rights to any of these images and the speech is Dr. King's "I Have a Dream")

Thank you to all who submitted their creative works. We appreciate you celebrating Dr. King with your creativity!

A Gift

Faith Tyner

Contest submission titled "A Gift." An image of an open gift box with sparkling circles emerging from it, with text that reads "Our children need our presence, not our presents. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Artist Statement: As faculty, staff, students, friends, and family it is important to remember that quality time with others is the most meaningful and precious gift.

Black Power

Brenda Garrett

Contest submission titled "Black Power." A drawing of a clenched fist covered in words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A white starburst on a blue-black background is behind the fist.

Artist Statement: The fist is a classic symbol of the BLM (black lives matter) movement. I put quotes from MLK lining the fist to show that he, among others, fuel the movement.

Do you remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

Tracy Qiu

Contest submission titled "Do you remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?" A poem that reads "The Montgomery bus boycott
Hundreds of people who let the bus seat rot
The Letter from Birmingham Jail
Words asking for a violent downscale
The March on Washington
History that was written
The thousands of people listening to
His great speeches calling for all to be equal

Artist Statement: My submission is a free-style poem about the things that MLK did to protest against discrimination. The title is a question to the reader and the poem is a list of things that MLK did to remind the reader.

Legacy of Freedom

Pam Altman

Contest submission titled "Legacy of Freedom." Photo of a hexagonal planter box with words written on it and greenery and flowers spilling out of it.

Artist Statement: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived out the values he espoused, and they strengthened him in his fight for right. This planter box is covered in some of these values, which embody Dr. King's legacy for me, and the flowers and greenery spilling forth from it represent the freedom for which he gave his life.

Light and Love

Faith Tyner

Contest submission titled "Light and Love." The image of a night sky with many shining stars, with the silhouette of a woman blowing a kiss is in the bottom right corner. At the bottom of the image is text that reads "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Artist Statement: Light and love make the school, community and world a better place.

Move Forward

Faith Tyner

Contest submission titled "Move Forward." An image of people running, walking, and crawling on hills with birds flying and a sun shining in the sky. Over the image are the words "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Artist Statement: No matter what stage of life you are in, what challenge you may face, or what triumph you achieve; keep moving forward.



Contest submission titled "Parallels." A poem that reads "Without reward, but forged through labored years of stress and struggle: we cannot always show our best because you never change. And I, who bears the harm and brunt and crippled soul of conflict, have no control over those who  pretend that they are deaf. How would you expect me to not have spite, in this arrangement, when I must bend to yours, and yet  you give no thought to me? And when I reason calmly, try to weather stark injustice, solutions are dismissed and my  emotions are ignored."

Artist Statement: I want this poem to connect suppression and abuse and make awareness for the similarity of situations that must improve. This was written from a place of empathy, and that is what I wish for it to inspire. If this poem speaks to a certain situation for you, that is what it is about.

sitelen musi lili pi Jan Matin

Jacob Bennett, Gordon Ivey, Wyatt Burton, Whitt Byrd, Brenda Garrett, Taylor Belcher

Contest submission titled "sitelen musi lili pi Jan Matin." A series of short poems written in the Toki Pona language, which translate to English as "leader of a new cycle. no division strength, knowledge, enduring.  community leader. wise and good. Martin Luther King, Jr.  equality! never giving up until he reached his goal  through danger and through capture Martin Luther King Jr wrote and spoke. he wrote and spoke for the happiness of all  man of greatness. leader of movements. person of morality.  he dreamed. his dream is our strong desire."

Artist Statement: These are short poems about MLK written in toki pona by the toki pona interim course.

There Comes A Time

Pam Altman

Contest submission titled "There Comes A Time." A clock with twelve quotes from Dr. King and illustrations depicting each quote.

Artist Statement: Much of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s work was convincing people that the time to fight for their rights was that very moment. The way he convinced them, alternately giving voice to their frustrations and envisioning a hopeful future, is paired with the urgency of his message in this clock, which portrays my interpretations of some passages from Dr. King's speeches, sermons, and letters.


Faith Tyner

Contest submission titled "Together." The image of a rowboat floating on water overlaid with text that says "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Artist Statement: Everyone has a story, a history. We can learn, understand, and support one another as we journey through the shared experience at GSSM.

True Education

Faith Tyner

Contest submission titled "True Education." A grid of images representing education with the words "Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Artist Statement: This image represents elements of true education. At GSSM, we strive to provide true education to all students.