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Student artwork at Tampa City Hall takes aim at antisemitism

Students in grades 4-12 were invited to submit entries along with written descriptions of their pieces.

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is inviting the public to come view a new student art display at Tampa’s downtown municipal building.

It’s called the “Shine a Light Youth Art“ exhibit.

The contest – and the artwork – are designed to raise awareness about antisemitism in general, including in our area.

Mayor Castor, who was also a judge of the artwork, says she’s moved by the display. The contest was sponsored by the Tampa JCC and Federation.

“We were curious to see what these remarkable students would do if we tasked them with the challenge of helping combat antisemitism through art,” said Jeffrey Berger, president of Tampa JCCs & Federation. “As you can see from the inspired and inspirational artwork on display here, our students were up to the challenge – they did not disappoint! We thank and applaud all of our contest participants for their thoughtful and creative submissions and congratulate the winners for their valuable contributions.”

"We need to remember lessons from history,” said Mayor Castor, "Even in 2022, synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and Jewish people have been attacked. Community projects like Shine A Light help in raising awareness about the human cost of antisemitism."

Students in grades 4-12 were invited to submit entries along with written descriptions of their pieces.

Mayor Castor honored some of the contest winners, whose work aims to raise awareness of antisemitism through the power of art. Images of loss, sadness, inclusiveness and acceptance.

Antisemitism is on the rise around the United States. There were more than 2,700 incidents reported in 2021, a 34% increase over the year before.

Tampa Bay is no exception with acts of vandalism, graffiti and recently antisemitic flyers spread in the Tampa’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

Florida is one of a growing number of states now requiring lessons of the Holocaust be taught in public schools. Art, educators say, can be a powerful medium for learning and expression.

Visitors can see the artwork for themselves. It will be on display in the lobby of Tampa‘s municipal office building through Aug. 8 and then again at Tampa International Airport later this fall.

If you aren’t able to get out to the art display in person but would like to check it out, click here.


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