(Virtual) Capital City African American Youth Art Competition

Theme-Black in the Future-Envisioning Tomorrow Through the Eyes of Young African American Artists

The African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County and The National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Inc. Pi Chapter are proud to announce the first (Virtual) Capital City African American Youth Art Competition 2021. The theme is Black in the Future: Tomorrow Through the Eyes of Young African American Artists. We are excited to give our youth an opportunity to use artistic expression to look toward the future. The art for the competition will be displayed in a breathtaking, virtual gallery for all to view and enjoy.

In 2019 we sponsored two African American History Bowls in which youth from local youth groups competed in teams to answer questions about African and African American History. These competitions were held in February and August at Mercer County Community College, Kearny Campus.

In 2020 COVID-19 changed the way people did everything. You could not have events inside, so we had to rethink how we could continue to support our youth and promote a better understanding of the contributions made by African Americans to the history of this country and to the world. Going virtual was the answer. In August of 2020 we presented a Virtual History Bowl where students submitted short videos on African Americans who have made significant contributions to the United States and the World. There were seven entries from individual youth or youth groups. We were excited to discover that the Virtual History Bowl Video received over 1000 views.

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Uriah Smith, 12th Grade

The artwork that I have created displays how I envision my own future. As you can see towards the bottom right corner, I drew a hand drawing an eye, showing my vision through my own path to complete my own accomplishments. It shows a shadowy figure walking the stairs to unlock the key to the world therefore finding success within it. After that in the left top corner shows the road of determination and motivation to keep going towards my ultimate goal so far, which is graduating from school. The pillar upholding those words represents the advisors and mentors who have helped me along my journey towards the future. You can also spot a quote from the late Malcolm X, explaining how education is crucial for the people, especially the younger generation who are preparing for their own future.

Ruel, 10th Grade

The sun with different dark colors in it represents different branches of the history of African American people. Red being their suffering, green being their peace and homeland, blue being the flow of their position throughout time like water, and purple being the potential of what happens next. The faces leading away and below the sun represent different common states of mind for African Americans. Agony through progression which leads to the future. Finally, you can see brown figures, representing African Americans, walking along a white path away from the Colored sun that they derived from, with white being on the sidelines.


Olivia Royster, Age 16

Women are the key to the future! I was inspired by the movie Men in Black because its called Men in Black, but a female partner played a key role. Be aware of women especially women of color because we are becoming more visible and equal, and we are making our mark in the world now and for the future.

Anirah Lopez, 10th Grade

I am in 10th grade. In my artwork, I compared the expectations and realities of America. people who come to America expecting freedom and expression of their true self, but unfortunately, that is not the case. So, my artwork is two-sided, one side being the "American Dream" and the other side the "American Nightmare".

Caitlyn McClanahan, 12th Grade

“The Buzz About My Hair”: An Ode to the Crown Act

A common experience many young Black women go through is the pressure to straighten our hair to fit a standard made to stifle our true beauty. Because of the Crown Act, our future is one of twist-outs on summer days, where we can unapologetically wear our hair the way nature truly intended it to be. By expressing our true selves. Black women will move forward with self-confidence to make an impact on the world.

Jamai Brown, 10th Grade

My artwork relates to that theme because in my poem I talk about how I am willing to spend all of my time investing in myself and figuring out my future.


Mariah Campbell, 5th Grade

I am 11. I like art. I am in 5th grade I go to Trenton Catholic Academy. My art relates to the art competition theme because it is all about the way I see the future for Black people in the future. We need strong fathers and mothers in the home so that the children can be successful in the future.

Kal’El Dream Livingston, 5th Grade

I am 11 years old, and I am in the 5th grade. In my artwork, it is 2041. I am the successful owner of KDL productions, my goal is to create animations and art to inspire all people. I have talented artists of all races and genders. We are all here to fulfill one destiny by any means necessary to create an equitable future for all people.

Ameiriss Rowell, 5th grade

Black people are capable of being successful everywhere on Earth. Black people can be successful anywhere because Black people do not just live in America but everywhere else too.