Jackson-Milton High School student wins Ohio civil rights art contest
By Bruce Walton
Megan Fultz, a ninth-grader at Jackson-Milton High School, wants to make the world a better place with her art.
Her passion for peace through visual messages has earned her recent recognition in a statewide contest.
Fultz’s poster submission to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission won first place this month in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. art contest out of 900 poster designs submitted within Ohio. Her artwork is also on display in Columbus at the Vern Riffe State Office Tower.
“I wanted to make a picture that shows people how ... bullying or some certain words can affect somebody and have certain effects on their life and how they react,” she said.
Her mixed-media poster included a collage and paints. The background is made from shredded pages from magazines, representing the different personalities of people. The chains at the top represent how words and actions from bullies can restrain people from doing their best. An aging, blue-eyed blonde is at the center, which Fultz added as an aesthetic choice.
The quote at the bottom made from cutout, printed letters reads:
“Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can be only forgiven, not forgotten.”
She also submitted an essay with the poster design, both fitting the theme of the contest: Witnessing hatred and intolerance and things you’ve done to drive out hate.
Fultz chose to focus on bullying because it’s a problem in the world she wants to address. Whenever people try to say hurtful things about her, she said she tries not to worry about it too much.
“I just feel like it’s not right to bully at all because you never know what that person is going through,” she said.
The contest is intended to encourage students to reflect upon King’s life, philosophy, and impact on the civil-rights movement and present-day America. The contest challenges students to think about how civil rights and diversity affect their lives and how they can continue the work of King in their own way, according to its website. It also had categories for writing and multimedia.
Katelyn Amendolara, Fultz’s art teacher, guided her to submit the poster. She gave the opportunity to all of her students, allowing them to work on it from November of last year to January.
“It challenged students to think about how civil rights and diversity affect their lives and how they can continue the work of Dr. Martin Luther King in their own way,” she said.
Amendolara said her student has a spark for creativity, going above and beyond producing whatever an assignment expects her to do. Fultz said she was incredibly surprised she won, knowing that there were hundreds of submissions. She has always loved art and plans a career in interior design.