The Subject

What is this contest about?

When we fail to learn from history, we risk repeating it. This competition asks creators to review, reflect, and respond to the history of the Holocaust. Entrants are asked to submit a creative work that acknowledges and responds to the genocide of World War II and the lived experiences of its survivors, especially those in our local South Bend community.

What should I watch or read before creating or writing my work?

Entrants should view The People Next Door, a short documentary sharing the stories of South-Bend area Holocaust survivors. Entrants may also study other instructor- or student-generated Holocaust and genocide-related sources.

What is The People Next Door?

The People Next Door is a 37-minute documentary sharing the stories of local Holocaust survivors who lived in Europe during the Nazi period of the 1930’s and 1940’s but were able to relocate to the South Bend area. These survivors, who may have been your neighbors, friends, or co-workers of your families, lost everything -- their families, their homes, their personal property, their money and their way of life. The lesson of their accounts bears repeating: that hatred and prejudice has, and can, lead to genocide.

The People Next Door -- and your artistic responses to these and other stories of the Holocaust -- are a reflection on the past that should serve to prevent reoccurrence in the future.

Where can I view The People Next Door?

View The People Next Door and other Holocaust remembrance resources here or online at http://www.simonholocaustfund.org/people_next_door/index.htm or on the YouTube channel of the Kurt and Tessye Simon Fund for Holocaust Remembrance at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEpYzfXWvLW3tKRw0r_-Zvw

The People Next Door DVD and booklet may also be located in your school’s library.

If my mental health is impacted, what should I do?

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or harm to others, please reach out for help from one of these support groups or national networks:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

  • Crisis Text Line - Text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 crisis counseling

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: 1-888-333-AFSP (2377)

  • Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: 952-946-7998

Though they are not graphic, the stories in The People Next Door describe chapters in recent history that are difficult for many people to process – especially in light of current events. While this contest asks for your reflection on those events, please also recognize and respect your own emotional boundaries.

The Contest

Is there an entry fee?


Are there prizes?

Yes! The following will be awarded for each category*:

  • 1st place: $300

  • 2nd place: $200

  • 3rd place: $100

  • Honorable mention(s): $50

*Exception: 1st place in the Art Category will be either the $300 cash prize, or an optional $400 purchase prize to include the sale of the original work to our collection.

May I enter in multiple categories?

To ensure participation and exhibition space for as many students as possible, we ask that submissions be limited to one per student. Please select the category of your preference and submit in that category only.


Should I submit my own entry, or should my teacher do it for me?

Either. Teachers should review all entries prior to submission. (Parents of entrants under age 18 should also provide consent.) Once reviewed, your teacher may submit on your behalf, or you may submit yourself. All submissions must include the teacher’s name and email address, a parent’s name and email for students under 18, and certify that the submission has been reviewed. Submit your entry here.

Does my work have to be titled?

No, but yes. You may choose to leave your work untitled. All untitled works will be exhibited with the title “Untitled.” However, our online entry form requires you to affirmatively state your choice. If you wish your work to be untitled, please enter “Untitled” in the title field.

The poetry and prose submission instructions also call for a title to be formatted into the document itself. The author of an untitled work of creative writing may choose whether to include “Untitled” as a title within the document, or leave the title heading empty.

The inclusion or absence of a title may impact the judging of a work only to the extent that it impacts the judge’s overall experience and impression of the work. In this respect, the choice (or omission) of a title will be considered as part of the artist’s expression.

Do I need an artist statement?

Artist statements are optional. Submissions accompanied by an artist statement will be judged together with the statement as one whole. Submissions without an artist statement will be judged on the submission alone. The mere absence or inclusion of a statement will not impact judging.

What is an artist statement, and why might I include one?

As described by thecreativeindependent.com, an artist statement is a paragraph or two that describes what you made and why (or how) you made it. It is a stand-in for you, the artist, talking to someone about your work. Artist statements are more common with works of visual art (especially abstract or unrepresentative works) where the work raises questions that are not clearly answered within the work itself. Artist statements are less common in works of creative writing or video.

You might consider including a statement if doing so would add to the viewer’s understanding or experience of your work. Of course, letting your work speak for itself - or allowing questions to remain unanswered - is an equally valid artistic choice.

How should I submit an artist statement? Should it be formatted?

You will be prompted to type or paste the text of your artist statement into your online entry form. Alternatively, you may upload a text or word file with your submission. If uploading, please name your document Lastname_firstname_worktitle_statement.doc.

Example: Anderson_Wes_FrenchDispatch_statement.doc.

What dimensions should I put for my work?

We want to ensure that visual art submissions are sized appropriately in our virtual gallery, so we ask you to tell us what that size should be. Please consult the category guidelines for size maximums.

  • For works of three-dimensional sculpture, please provide the actual height in inches.

  • For works of two-dimensional art, please provide the actual height and width in inches of the unframed or unmatted work.

  • For photographic works, please provide the height and width in inches of the unframed, unmatted print that you would show if the exhibition were physical, not virtual. Note: we reserve the option to virtually mat and/or frame photographs in our virtual gallery space. Please do not add mat or frame dimensions to your submission.

  • All poetry or essay submissions should be formatted as 8.5” by 11” documents.

How big is too big?

File sizes: uploaded images must be less than 3MB each. Uploaded PDF or Word documents must be less than 1MB each.

Please see Category Guidelines above for maximum dimensions of visual artwork. Poetry or essay submissions should not exceed standard 8.5” by 11” document size.

What YouTube settings do I need?

Video submissions must be uploaded first to a YouTube account and submitted by URL. Your video must be set to public or unlisted (not private), and must not be subject to age restrictions, copyright strikes, or any other settings which would prevent the video from being embedded and viewed within a webpage.

For accessibility during exhibition, captioning is encouraged where appropriate. The presence or absence of captioning will not impact judging.