Students in an advanced art class at Madison High School watched video of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his "I Have a Dream Speech" and created artwork inspired by his words.
The projects were part of a national art contest, called The Dream @ 50, marking the 50th anniversary of King's speech, given Aug. 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The annual federal holiday in honor of the civil rights leader is Monday.
Four Madison students were selected as semifinalists and have been invited to a ceremony Jan. 26 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One semifinalist from the New York area will be among 10 finalists selected nationwide.
Madison's semifinalists are Leah O'Gorman, who the school picked as its winner, and Brendan Flanagan, Mackenzie McClay and Max Woolley.
Visual art teacher Heather Sokolowski said the class discussed the speech and students created pieces that responded to the speech or was inspired by it.
Sokolowski, who is in her first year at Madison High School, said she heard about the competition through the National Art Educators Association.
At first, some students were hesitant because they were, to some degree, being told what to do. In the end, students said they enjoyed the assignment and found it challenging, she said.
One student began a portrait of King, then, as the student worked to make it more interesting, ended up creating a silhouette of the civil rights leader with words from the speech.
The class has 17 students and is comprised of self-led art majors and advanced students who study a set curriculum, such as working in the style of an artist they admire, or creating oil pastel drawings that convey a narrative.