FDU Presents Patriotic Art Contest Unveiling Ceremony

By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez
Staff Writer

HACKENSACK, NJ — On Feb. 11, 2020, a $500 check was presented to Grace Lopez following a local ceremony in the Veterans office located in Dickinson Hall. Lopez and the runner-up, Jason Ortiz, will have their artwork displayed outside the Veterans Office.

As part of their Veterans Day celebration, FDU’s Student Veteran Association and the Office of the Campus Executive sponsored the 2019 Patriotic Art Contest. Three quotes were provided as artistic prompts, and the artwork had to be both related to veterans and FDU in some way in order to qualify.

The winner, Grace Lopez, is a junior studying forensic psychology. For her artistic prompt, she chose the quote by Nathaniel Hill, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” Her artwork features her uncle who served in the Air Force during Vietnam and Knightro, the official FDU mascot.

“We should do this more often, because the school is so sad,” Lopez said, as she pointed toward blank walls. “It would be nice to have more artwork on the walls.”

The theme of Lopez’ artwork is centered around inclusiveness. Noted by the pun-intended phrase, “Uknighted we stand, America” and the insignias of the five branches of US Military. By including her uncle, Lopez intended to show how veterans can exist everywhere, thus creating a sense of familiarity in her piece.

Runner-up Jason Ortiz, junior and fine arts major, based his artwork on the notion of “creating peace, not destruction” inspired by the famous Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.

By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez

Jason Ortiz poses with his submission, which is inspired by the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest.

Both contestants were in the same art class, and prompted by their professor to enter the contest. Ortiz believes that there should be more art contests like this in the future. 

Martha Papson Garcia, the Director of Veterans Services, recalls that the idea for this contest came about during a conversation with Campus Executive Steve Nelson, and they both agreed to collaborate on this project. The Campus Executive Office supplied the scholarship award and the Veterans Service’s student veterans decided on the winning artworks.

Veterans Services will start the next art contest in Fall of 2020.




By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez

Patriotic Art winner Grace Lopez poses with her artwork and prize.