Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust Art Contest winners announced

In recognition of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust Art Contest has announced its winners.

High school and middle school artists were asked to create pieces on the theme “Why Holocaust Education?” For the month of May, the works will be on display at the Liberty Park branch of the Spokane Public Library, 402 S. Pittsburg St.

First place, high school division: “Faded” by Najahna Smith, 12th grade, On Track Academy

In the high school division, Najahna Smith placed first with “Faded,” a stained glass piece. Smith is a 12th grader at On Track Academy. She won $400.

In her artist statement, Smith said her piece was inspired by the work “Birkenau,” German for birch grove and also part the name for the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

“People see birch trees and see beauty, strength, hope, peace – all opposite of what the Nazis hid behind them,” she wrote. “The birch trees in my piece begin as bright and colorful and then fade to clear – by the time the eye gets to the left side of my piece the textures in the clear glass tell the story: People’s memories and knowledge of what happened behind those trees are fading … We must study the Holocaust so no one forgets and repeats the mistakes.”

Second place was awarded to “I Am With You” by Anna Francesca Quintero-Castenada, a 10th-grader at University High School. Third place went to “Blind to Humanity” by Ethan Smith, a 12th grader at University. They won $250 and $100, respectively.

The committee awarded three honorable mentions: “Never Again” by Gauge Bedow, 11th grade, East Valley High School; “More Than a Name” by Rachel Barney, 12th grade, Central Valley High School; and “History Repeats Itself” by Stephanie Thornton, 11th grade, East Valley.

In the middle school division, Hayden Brewer took first place with “I’m Still Here.” Hayden is a seventh grader at Spokane Virtual Academy and won $250.

Hayden’s artwork is centered on the children of the Holocaust. In her artist statement, she said she was inspired by the 2013 documentary “I’m Still Here,” which was told through the diaries of Jewish teens.

Second place went to “Never Again” by Teagan Schroeder and third place to “Stand Together as One” by Zariya Alexander. Both are eighth graders at Salk Middle School. They won $100 and $75, respectively.

There were three honorable mentions in the middle school division: an untitled work by Alivia Ross, “The Cruelty of the Holocaust” by Garrett Collins, and “Suffering” by Yartzy Juarez-Rodriguez. All three are eighth graders at Salk.

Entries for the 16th annual Eva Lassman Memorial Writing Contest, also with the theme “Why Holocaust Education?,” are being accepted through Sunday. For details, visit neveragainspokane.wixsite.com/2022-contest.

Instead of an in-person observance for Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, a locally produced video about Holocaust survivors from the Spokane community will be broadcast on KSPS at 7:30 pm The video features Eva Lassman, Cora der Koorkanian and Carla Peperzak. A longer version of the video is available at pbs.org/video/spokanes-voices-of-the-holocaust-gasyek/.