Students Shine in Student-Led Art Competition and Social Justice Symposium

Students Shine in Student-Led Art Competition and Social Justice Symposium

Fairfield Student Blessed Stephen '26

Fairfield Student Blessed Stephen '26 standing with her winning art piece entitled "Broken Promises."

Using art as a medium to voice their thoughts and concerns, participants explored a spectrum of social justice topics, from race and gender, to autism and drug addiction.

On the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 7, Fairfield University hosted a student-led art competition and social justice symposium for students to showcase their creative expressions on pressing social issues. The event, titled "The Art of Arthur Szyk: Student Reflections on Social Justice," was organized by Karen Langton, PhD, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies, and drew a crowd of around 130 students.

The competition featured seven student art submissions with an additional 30 art pieces displayed in the exhibit. Participants explored a wide range of social justice topics, from race and gender to autism and drug addiction, using their art as a medium to voice their thoughts and concerns.

Distinguished faculty judges for the art competition included Philip Eliasoph, PhD; Marice Rose, PhD; and Rachelle Brunn-Bevel, PhD; all of whom were deeply moved by the students' powerful and thought-provoking works. The winner of the competition was Blessed Stephen ’26, whose piece, entitled "Broken Promises," focuses on veteran's rights. Stephen's impactful artwork will be exhibited at the Quick Center's Walsh Gallery beginning next week, a testament to her talent and dedication to raising awareness about important societal issues.

All competition participants received recognition for their outstanding contributions and were awarded a $50 gift card for art supplies from the Visual and Performing Arts department, to encourage them to continue their creative endeavors.

The event received overwhelming praise from attendees and participants alike. Dr. Eliasoph, professor of art history and visual culture, and special assistant to the president described it as "one of the most meaningful and memorable student-centered events" he has witnessed in more than five decades at the school. He thanked Dr. Langton for her thoughtful organization and commended the students for their courage in sharing their personal experiences.

The competition was made possible through the support of various areas of the University, including: the Humanities Institute, the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, the Visual and Performing Arts Department, the Religious Studies department, the Center for Catholic Studies, and the Sociology and Anthropology Department.

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