Student art exhibit completes the Holocaust Commission’s 2015 Elie Wiesel competitions

by | Jun 23, 2015 | Other News

Dana Cohen, Holocaust survivor, with Lynnhaven Middle School artist Corinna Ensley and her father Pat Ensley.

Dana Cohen, Holocaust survivor, with Lynnhaven Middle School artist Corinna Ensley and her father Pat Ensley.

The Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s successful 2015 Elie Wiesel Visual Arts exhibit came to a close on June 1. The show featuring student work was held at the Old Dominion University Virginia Beach Center for one month.

Student winners, their parents and teachers from local schools attended an opening reception on May 6. In addition to winners in the two- and three-dimensional artwork categories, winners of the multimedia division were honored, while their winning films were projected.

Phyllis Sperling and Leslie Siegel, the chairs for the visual arts competition, say they were impressed by the quality of the submissions. Eleven middle schools and seven high schools were represented, submitting a total of 236 entries, including a group of students from Hickory, N.C.

The number of entries, combined with the visual excellence, made it difficult for the chairs to choose the pieces to be included in the exhibit. Eventually, 60 pieces were chosen for the show, including winners of the 2015 contest.

The Holocaust Commission’s Elie Wiesel competitions for students include the visual arts competition, and a writing competition. These annual competitions are generously supported by TowneBank and the Simon Family Foundation.

Entries this year came from 1,400 students attending dozens of local schools, and from students in states as far away as Wisconsin and Florida. Winners were honored at the annual Yom Hashoah commemoration in April; their winning pieces—including essay, poetry, art and multimedia—can be found online at

The Holocaust Commission is currently preparing for its 12th Biennial Educators’ Conference, which for the first time, will be open to interested community members, in addition to all student advocates.

For more information about the July 28–29 conference, and other Holocaust Commission programs, visit, call 965-6125, or email

by Elka Mednick