HIAS' Poster Contest Winners on Display at the U.S. Capitol

Posted on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 11:55 am

(New York, NY) – HIAS leaders gathered today at the Russell Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol complex to view winning posters from HIAS’ 2008 Poster Contest for Immigrant Youth. Since 1995, HIAS, the international migration agency of the American Jewish community, has sponsored an annual immigrant art poster contest; this year, for the first time, the winning posters are on display in the Russell Rotunda.

The exhibit, which began on September 15, will continue for one week, and includes 11 winning posters from HIAS’ 2008 contest, which was appropriately themed to the general elections. To honor this great expression of American democracy, the contest called for posters on: American Presidents: Past, Present and Future. The exhibit coincides with HIAS’ Ninth Annual Advocacy Mission that includes both members of the HIAS Board of Directors and HIAS Young Leaders.

One of the highlights of the mission’s visit to the exhibit was the appearance of one of the young artists, Ilan Belokon, 8, of Brooklyn, NY, whose poster of President James Monroe made the final cut, and of his father, Leon Belokon, who is an art teacher and an enthusiastic promoter of the poster contest.

Leon Belokon told the gathering this morning: “HIAS’ poster contest is one of only a few poster contests nationally and internationally that allows young artists to participate. This is a terrific opportunity for my son and other talented youngsters to express themselves and their experiences through art. We are incredibly honored to see the work of these immigrant youth displayed on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.” Belokon, originally from Ukraine, came to this country through the help of HIAS.

The exhibition features the contest’s best posters – and short accompanying essays. This annual competition was designed to encourage first and second-generation immigrant children, ages 4-15, to express through art their experiences as immigrants and their feelings about their new homeland. Entries are judged on creativity, originality, artistic technique, and relation to the theme; artwork by the top finalists is featured in HIAS' annual calendar.

Funding for the Washington exhibit was generously provided by the Estate of Sidney Krum. Downloadable versions of posters from 1995 to the present are available online at HIAS’ Sidney Krum Gallery at: http://www.hias.org/krumgallery/posters/index.html. The deadline for the 2009 HIAS Poster Contest for Immigrant Youth is October 15; for more information, please visit our website at www.hias.org, or call (212) 967-4100.