Mecca, CA — Today, Common Cause announced Jessica Hernandez-Beltran, 28, of Mecca, California as the first-place winner of the 2021 Artivism Contest. The competition was designed by the Common Cause Student Action Alliance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Common Cause and the passage of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. In the organization’s first-ever virtual competition bridging art with activism, youth nationwide were invited to submit art that expressed their perspectives on key democracy issues.
“Our democracy is strongest when everyone has a voice, regardless of age, zip code, or income,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The 2021 Artivism winners represent the creativity of the next generation that’s working to build a more vibrant and inclusive democracy. Common Cause will continue working with youth advocates to champion the changes needed to ensure young people can have a say in the decisions impacting their futures.”
The Artivism Contest invited youth ages 14-28 to raise their voices on any set of nine democracy issues, including access to voting, campaign finance reform, fighting against gerrymandering, and more. Contest winners’ art will be featured in the Common Cause Shop on select apparel and merchandise. Winners will also receive cash prizes, with $1,500 for first place, $800 for second place, and $600 for third place.
“Our vote is our voice,” said Jessica Hernandez-Beltran, first place winner in the 2021 Common Cause Artivism contest. “I hope my art will convey the impact that access to voting creates in all communities. Voting is a voice that should not be silenced just like someone who gets the microphone and says something or sings.”
Hernandez-Beltran submitted a drawing of a hand holding a microphone with words like “opportunity,” “voice,” and “accountability.” The fingernails of the hand have letters that spell “vote.” Her winning art is part of the Access to Voting category and was one of three winners in the 18–23-year-old age group. Hernandez-Beltran is one of seven winners representing seven cities from California to North Carolina. Submissions were due September 30 and voting, open to all, took place every day from October 1 through November 2.
“We thank everyone who participated for bringing their unique perspectives and creativity to the 2021 Artivism Contest,” said Alyssa Canty, director of youth programs at Common Cause. “We look forward to working with the winners to showcase their art and help inspire more youth to make their voices heard for a democracy that is inclusive of every voice.”
To see the full list of 2021 Artivism Contest Winners and their artwork, click here.
To shop apparel and merchandise featuring the 2021 Artivism Contest Winners, click here.