The Annual Creative Expression Competition, hosted by the City of Chandler’s Diversity Office, is a unique opportunity for Chandler students to showcase their art, writing and other talents by submitting a personalized take on a theme centered around community diversity.
This year’s theme, “Culture and Equity Across Time,” garnered a host of responses in the form of visual art, written essays and video submissions.
“This year’s submissions made me excited for the future of Chandler,” said Rori Minor, a special events coordinator in the City’s Diversity Office. “The art, essays and videos truly show the abundant diversity within Chandler and the impact it has on all of us, no matter how young or old.”
Due to the pandemic, the 2021 Creative Expression Competition looked a little different than past years. This year’s winners were recognized with street banners of their artwork, rather than with an in-person City Council recognition.
“The City of Chandler Diversity Office always wants to reward the hard work and creativity of our students here in Chandler, but this year we ran into some obstacles due to the pandemic,” Minor said. “Since Downtown Chandler is already a great supporter of the arts, we figured why not give these students the recognition they deserve. The parents, students and teachers were so excited, and the City was happy to encourage diversity education in our community.”
The banners will be up on Arizona Avenue between Pecos and Frye Roads in Downtown Chandler throughout the month of February.
The annual competition is open to all students living in or attending school in Chandler. The judges look at the submissions for each age group and judge based on composition, presentation, technique and subject matter and demonstrated understanding of cultural experiences.
Amanda W., a senior at Hamilton High School who placed second in this year’s 9th-12th grade visual arts category, reflected on the importance of showcasing diversity through artwork.
“Art connects people,” Amanda said. “It is a voice that everyone around the globe uses to express their perspectives and ideas. Art communicates a much larger story in a language that everybody can understand. It is important for all diverse ideas to be heard and seen because that is what makes our society unique and collaborative.”
Below are some of this year’s visual arts winners and excerpts from some of the winning essays.
The following is an excerpt from the first place essay (9th-12th grade), written by Eve W.:
“The scene looked familiar: people filled the streets; signs echoed the voices of the protestors; police officers struggled to guide the honking cars with flailing arms. The bright blue sky and scalding sun umbrellaed the square, the blossoming flowers trampled by the foot-traffic of thousands of people. It was hard to be angry on such a beautiful day, but the people were fed up. Their cries shook through the air, carrying all the way to the rooftops on which several figures stood, overseeing the scene below. A chant began to take hold, starting out as a quiet whisper but quickly turning into a thunderous roar. Still, the White House kept its doors closed, waving the American flag proudly, just as it had on a similar day seven years ago.” - Eve W.
The following is an excerpt from the first place essay (5th-8th grade), written by Kailani H.:
“In fifth grade, I flew over the Pacific Ocean and watched all that I thought I knew transform before my eyes. My family had taken a vacation in the Philippines to see relatives, but I discovered another world. Although I was young, my experiences in the foreign country lingered in my mind for many years to come. The ghost of this developing nation haunted me when I returned home, unable to forget the conditions that some people had to endure.” - Kailani H
2021 Creative Expression Competition Winners
View all of this year’s visual and writing winning submissions, along with the honorable mentions and video submissions from the City’s Diversity Office.