Community Artists’ Collective sponsors youth essay contest
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“Expressions from the Heart,” an essay competition with prize money, is offering Houston area youth ages 10 to 15-years-old, an opportunity to create art through the written word.

The competition, sponsored by the Community Artists’ Collective (CAC) and the Mary Holt Ashley Initiative (AI), is designed to encourage youth to create expressions of love and kindness, expand imaginations, sharpen writing skills and enjoy the art form of writing.

Contestants are divided into two age groups: 10-12 and 13-15, with prize money ranging from $100 to $300. Contestants can choose from six essay topics: Love of Art, Dance, Music, Sports, the Written Word (i.e., modern literature, poetry, biblical or ancient literature) and the True Meaning of Love.

Contest creator, Dr. Mary Holt Ashley, says the reason for offering prize money is twofold.

“We want to have opportunities for students who have abilities to be able to participate and show them off so that other people can identify their level of competence,” said Ashley.

“Secondly, everybody knows that we are given certain gifts. And a person that has gifts, even if they’re good writers, they need experiences to strengthen those skills. I believe that through the writing contest participants will be motivated to do so, and having a cash award will give them some incentive.”

Holt added, “Writing is an art. It’s a beautiful art. And when it comes from your heart, we consider it a bonafide part of the arts.”

Complete details and application form may be found at For more information email or call 713-523-1616.


Entry Fee: $25 (deadline for payment, March 21)

Essay Submission Deadline: April 25

Winners Announced: May 6

Awards Ceremony: May 13

Aswad Walker

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...