The opinions expressed in these student art pieces belong to the student artists and do not necessarily express views of the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

Senior Visual Arts

1st Place - Senior Visual Arts

Callan Barboza
Frank W. Cox High School
Mrs. van Veenhuyzen


A Brighter Future

For this piece, I chose to draw Elie Wiesel and his younger self. He is pictured looking up towards yellow and butterflies. The butterflies were heavily inspired by Karl Robert Bodek and Kurt Conrad Low's art piece titled, "One Spring," which was made in the Gurs Camp in southern France. Butterflies symbolize life struggles that people have endured to emerge as better people, and can also be seen as a symbol of hope. Fading from the yellow is blue, to depict a darker time. Behind the young Elie are black bars, which represent captivity. He is also pictured in the striped uniform he had to wear at the concentration camp. On the bottom right corner, there are the digits A-7713. Each Jew was dehumanized by being labeled, and Wiesel's name was replaced with A-7713. Elie Wiesel showed us that it is important, no matter what you have gone through, to look towards the light and hope for a brighter future. 

2nd Place - Senior Visual Arts

Finley Lemma 
Norfolk Academy
Ms. Zito 


Strength in Unity 

It is easy to feel alone in this world. When advocating for social justice, it sometimes feels like you cannot possibly make a change by yourself. However, many people too often ignore the impact that comes with unity. As we saw with the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, change is possible. You must never stop fighting for change, but you do not have to fight alone. When people set aside their feelings of individuality in favor of activism, they will find that they were never on their own to begin with. Alone, a winter of despair is inevitable. Hope comes when you realize that you are truly a part of something bigger than yourself, and, together, you have the power to change the world, one step at a time. 


3rd Place - Senior Visual Arts

Taylor Nixon 
Tallwood High School 
Mrs. LaRoue 


The Flight for Freedom 

In 2020, both my grandfather and a friend of mine from middle school passed away, causing me to revert to my coping mechanism of origami when I could not express my feelings through words. I later decided to use this form of expression to partake in this competition and honor all heroes, past and present, no matter how well known they are. The Flight for Freedom is based on the Japanese legend that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. Each crane in my piece represents the various people who gave up their resources to obtain the same wish of a better world of peace, equality, and justice. The blank piece of paper is the final crane that is yet to be made. It represents those yet to join the fight and all of the heroes in the making. 

Honorable Mention - Senior Visual Arts

Rachel Sobers 
Cape Henry Collegiate
Mr. Warden 


History Unhidden

This piece displays a magnifying glass centered upon the earth during 2020, flaming to represent all of the turmoil that this world underwent during the year. What is revealed through the magnifying glass is a collage of the tragedies that took place during the Holocaust, which flows over its rim and onto the present-day globe. The inspiration behind this piece is the fact that the attitudes of humans are unchanging. Lingering feelings of hatred and injustice are timelessly present, which is evident in the events of 2020. What this piece conveys is something that I, among many others, learned this year: the importance of recognizing wrongdoings and using our country's past as a guide. May we never forget the hardships that make our country itself. 

Honorable Mention - Senior Visual Arts

Anna Brown 
High Bluff Academy (CA)
Ms. Sullivan 


2020 in Hindsight, Unmasking the Year

When I think of 2020, I think inevitably of Covid-19, because it was felt globally and directly impacted my own life. It was a year, however, that brought so much more that was simmering under the surface in this country, to a boiling point. When I started to develop this art piece, I initially wanted to play with the idea of looking back on 2020 with clarify, with 20/20 vision... but then the idea of unmasking the underlying issues, the events, the feelings, came to me and I wanted to develop layers with the masks. The first layer is the shield: the events of 2020. The second layer is the mask, the movements. Finally, the third layer uncovers all the contrary emotions and aspects of human existence. 

Chairs’ Choice - Senior Visual Arts

Lucia Klinkhammer
Frank W. Cox High School 
Mrs. van Veenhuyzen


I Do 

My work of art depicts two people holding hands with two blue butterflies. They are both wearing a wedding band (although the man's ring is the only one visible). I took inspiration from the love story of Rudi and Marga. Rudi and Marga were imprisoned in Auschwitz and petitioned to get married so their son could become legitimate. The blue butterflies symbolize the children of the married couples, in particular Rudi and Marga's son. Their petition was granted, but no one knows why. Although their story is amazing, this piece is also supposed to call to mind the extreme pain the married men and women faced upon arrival at the concentration camps. They were often ripped apart, and many either didn't make it out themselves or never found their spouse again. Depending on how you look at it, this piece represents the best of times or the worst of times. Even amid so much pain and sorrow, Rudi and Marga were able to find love. However, amid so much suffering, countless others were separated from their loved ones and never saw them again. The good is the love, the bad is the pain of separation. 

Chairs’ Choice - Senior Visual Arts

Yujie Yang 
Cape Henry Collegiate 
Mr. Warden



My intention behind this piece is to remember those that lost their lives during the Holocaust. My artwork is inspired by a picture of cats being caged up and smuggled into Vietnam because it reminded me of the Jewish people on the trains during the Holocaust. The blue light on the faces represents the people being close to death due to no oxygen. The woman is afraid of death and wants to escape, so she still has a bit of hope in her eyes. The man behind her has no hope left in his eyes; he is close to death, explaining why his pupils are dilated, his eyelids are loose, and he is pale. The little boy has a look of confusion on his face because he does not know what is going to happen. They are looking out of the cage with despair as they leave their homeland. 

Junior Visual Arts

1st Place - Junior Visual Arts

Ella-Marie Sedwick
The Williams School
Ms. Lindgren 


Star of Gold

My piece was inspired by the millions of Jews who were harmed during the Holocaust and were treated as inferior because of their religious beliefs. During this time, persecution was always in their way. They were separated from society and sent into concentration camps. In these concentration camps, many feared for their death which they knew was almost impossible to escape from. If they weren't killed, they were close to because of their living conditions and the amount of food given. The rations were extremely unhealthy and resulted in malnutrition and starvation. The Star of David, in gold, represents the bravery and courage it took for them to stay alive during those inhumane times. 

2nd Place - Junior Visual Arts

Max Haan 
Hickory Day School
Mr. Jones



My artwork symbolizes what is happening in the world. The world is made to look like a virus because the entire world is feeling the impact from the coronavirus. The hand holding the world represents the people standing strong even in a time of doubt. They are supporting the world. My artwork shows how strong we are and it explains how we felt during 2020. It shows what we saw in 2020. This image shows what 2020 felt like to me. 

3rd Place - Junior Visual Arts

Victoria Carr 
The Williams School 
Ms. Lindgren 


Equal Shades?

The Black Lives Matter movement has been in the media since the spring of 2020 but discrimination against blacks and other races and skin tones has been going on for centuries. Hispanics have had a hard time getting employed because of their race. Asian Americans have been looked at differently and were said to have "started the Coronavirus." Another group, such as the Native Americans, is  treated differently because of their tanned skin and culture. Many live on reserves because Americans have claimed their land as ours. The art demonstrates that no matter what your skin tone, you are loved and you do matter. Something we all need to remember is all of our hearts are the same color. Skin tones shouldn't change people's lives and how they're treated. 

Honorable Mention - Junior Visual Arts

Nadia Paige 
Cape Henry Collegiate 
Ms. Eden 


Stand Up 

This piece of artwork was inspired by the Women's Rights Movement that went on in the 1900s. I wanted to show how much women were treated unfairly and thought to be inferior to men. Those that stood up and said something made a difference. Many famous women's rights activists, such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth C. Stanton, worked hard to ensure that they left an impact on the world for a move forward with positive change for women. 

Chairs’ Choice - Junior Visual Arts

Sarah Selim 
Virginia Virtual Academy 
Ms. Williams 


Will Justice Prevail 
This art entry depicts the riots held for the Black Lives Matter movement. When our justice system is not as it should be, all else is blinded and unimportant in the race for true equality. We will rise from the pain and harassment of police to peaceful protesters and fight for what is right Yet as we did this, our candles burnt out after around three months of protesting. Let this movement forever be remembered and the names of the people who were murdered ring in our ears. 

Chairs’ Choice - Junior Visual Arts

Erica Fox 
Marsteller Middle School
Ms. Buchheit 


Facing the Truth 
In my drawing, Facing the Truth, I am addressing the mistaken belief that the Holocaust is only about discrimination towards Jews. As evidenced by the classification system of triangles in the camps, other minority groups suffered bitterly. The butterflies represent scapegoats of the time, such as homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and gypsies. This brings to mind targets of hate in 2020, including those in the LGBTQ+, immigrant, and African American communities. I used cross-hatching for the shaded parts to make the girl appear to be frail and cold. The bricks inside of her represent the mental and physical dehumanization that a dysfunctional society tells its people to feel about the least of us. The barbed wire chokes her back from pursuing her hopes and dreams instead of allowing her to follow her butterflies. For me as a Jew, Facing the Truth is an inclusive symbol of the Holocaust. With the problems in the world today, let this be a reminder serving the purpose of unity and a sign that we are all in this together.