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Emancipation Poster Contest for CCAD Students

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The winners of the Forever Free Emancipation Poster Contest were announced at the Opening Program of the exhibit on March 9, 2011.

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 Kingsbury received Third Place for his work entitled New Day.


Click image to view larger image and Artist Statements.

Emancipation Poster Contest for CCAD Students

Students attending the Columbus College of Art and Design were invited to enter the Emancipation Poster Contest hosted by the State Library of Ohio and in conjunction with the Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation exhibit at the State Library of Ohio

The Emancipation Proclamation was a major event in the History of the United States.  It was an Executive Order issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. Even though it was widely publicized when announced there was a small catch.  Due to laws in the South and general neglect of any education amongst the slaves, reading or teaching slaves to read was illegal. This made disseminating the news of their newly-granted freedom challenging.  In order to spread the word among slaves, other inventive ways were used to inform them.  Song was the most commonly used method.

Information on Slavery, Abraham Lincoln, and the Emancipation Proclamation was on display during the exhibit at the Packard Library.

For the purposes of this contest the focus was a visual representation to communicate the concept of emancipation without the use of text. Students were asked to challenge themselves to make a poster that a slave in 1862 (that could not read) would be able to understand that they had been emancipated, no longer a piece of owned property but a free man, woman or child of the United States of America.



The contest was only open to students attending the Columbus College of Art and Design.


  • A 18”x24” 2-D design
  • Using any medium in any style (media does not need to be historically accurate i.e. can include a digital print out, acrylic paint…)
  • No text in poster


The entries were  placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The top three were announced at the Forever Free opening program & reception on March 9, 2011 and are now the property of the State Library of Ohio. All three were professionally framed and the artists received a certificate from the State Librarian congratulating their placement. Matthew Houston's work placed 1st and he received a $50 gift card from Utrecht Art Supplies, Jerrica Fields and Joshua Kingsbury each received a $25 Utrecht Art Supplies gift card. The top three posters were scanned, cataloged, posted to the State Library’s Lincoln Exhibit website, and on permanent display at the State Library.

After the Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation exhibit closed at the State Library the Matthew Houston's poster was temporarily displayed at the Hammond Harkins Gallery in Bexley.


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.


Special thanks to Ohioana for working with Utrecht Art Supplies on prizes for the winners. Utrecht provided gift cards for the winners.

Questions: Contact Marsha McDevitt-Stredney 614-644-6875

Download PDF of Emancipation Poster Contest Information