EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An annual art contest held at East Stroudsburg University gives local high school students a chance to show their artwork while paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

“I Have a Dream.. 60 Years Later” is the theme of this year’s ‘Julianna V. Bolt’ Art Contest.

The annual competition held in Monroe County showcases high school artists’ interpretations of Martin Luther King Junior’s life and work.

Creating artwork of all kinds such as cardboard and even charred paper.

“It was like to symbolize how Martin Luther King started off with something simple, like a piece of cardboard. He had a dream that he like turned into something beautiful, so I was trying to make the cardboard into something beautiful for people to remember,” said Stroudsburg High School Senior and 3rd place winner, Kimani Hanson.

“I first planned it in my art class and the next class I just started drawing and when I got home, I soaked it in coffee and I lit it on fire,” said Meghan Farrelly, 2nd place winner and East Stroudsburg North Senior.

The contest is named after Wayne Bolt’s late wife Julianna who he says was very quiet and laid back but would be amazed at the succession of the program.

“I know if she would see the students that have gone through this art contest, she would.. as a matter of fact she’s probably smiling now to see her contest has done,” said Wayne Bolt.

This is the first year the contest is taking place at East Stroudsburg University all 55 pieces are on display for the public to admire.

“There’s such variety as well, and talent of course. I think it just, you know, knowing that they’re going to have these full creative lives,” said Darlene Farris-LaBar, Department Chair and Professor of Art, Media, and Design at East Stroudsburg University.

Out of all 55 pieces submitted Sharon Mejia took home the first-place prize.

Her hand-drawn portrait displays the message “Was My Dream Just a Dream?” a tie to today’s modern society.

“We’ve already made so much progress. In our schools for example, we’re already so, we have so much diversity when you look around we have all different types of races and stuff, and I feel he would be really happy with that but we still have more to do,” said Stroudsburg High School Junior and 1st place winner, Sharon Mejia.

The art collection will be on display for the public to see, free of charge, at East Stroudsburg University’s gallery through January 26th.