Millburn High School Junior Fiona Murphy won second place in the Drew University Arts of Respect Art Competition. Murphy was one of three Millburn High School finalists selected to compete at Drew. The finalists were judged at Drew University in the high school division, by a panel including Drew professors.
Murphy’s award-winning collage features drawings of sign language hand signals, along with maps. She explained that her entry was inspired by her experiences with hearing impaired children and her desire to learn sign language so that she could better communicate with them. Murphy said that the hand signals and maps express that we “should be able to respect the people in our lives … and all over the world.”
This marks the first year that Millburn High School students were invited to compete in the Drew University art contest, in which entries are judged on the quality of the art and on the message of respect for all people. In addition to Murphy, two other MHS finalists, Arlynn Baer and Michael Yuan, both juniors, were selected to compete in Arts of Respect. Arlynn Baer won honorable mention for her raised painting/sculpture, which features different colored crayons melding together.
The finals took place at Drew University in March, and finalists presented their work to the college audience and competition judges. Millburn High School was one of four high schools invited to participate at the college, alongside the Drew University students. The Arts of Respect program is run by Dr. Jonathan Golden, Associate Director of The Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict at Drew. Ryan Siegel, Millburn High School sophomore, introduced Arts of Respect at Millburn High School. He coordinated the competition at Millburn High School by working with Drew University, the MHS administration, and Mrs. Mary Weber, a teacher in the MHS art department.
“Congratulations to Fiona Murphy for her incredible achievement in the Arts of Respect competition at Drew University,” said Siegel, who is a Diversity Club officer at Millburn High School. “Thank you to all of the Millburn participants for their outstanding artwork, and thank you to Drew University for welcoming Millburn into their inspiring program, which promotes respect for all people through art, an idea which was wholeheartedly embraced by the MHS Art Department and by the students at Millburn High School. “
Dr. Paul Drucker, the Arts of Respect sponsor, explained the mission and question behind the art competition, "There is much hatred in the world. People are looked upon as “different” because of their religion, their race, their behavior, their appearance, or…just because. Why? I would like you to explore these issues, examine your thoughts and feelings and express them in an art form, in music, in theatre, in literature or in poetry." Plans for the Arts of Respect contest at MHS for next year are underway.
“Special thanks to Mrs. Weber and Dr. Keller of the Art Department, and to Dr. Jonathan Golden and Dr. Paul Drucker for making this possible,” Siegel added.