The Hartford Creative Contest was founded by Tiana Hercules in 2014. Back then it was called the Hartford Youth Essay Contest, and focused mainly on the violence of the Hartford community. It was a way to provide a platform for students to get their voices heard through their writing and give ideas on how to eliminate violence in their communities. Here's what Tiana had to say about the thought process behind the creation of the contest:
"Youth and students in particular can often feel as though they have no voice or control over some of the things that occur around them. The Essay Writing Contest was a way to tap into the ingenuity, passion and innovation of our youth to have their perspectives on violence and how they would go about eliminating it. I hope by participating in this essay contest students feel empowered and encouraged"
Since Tiana started the Hartford Creative Contest in 2014, it has only expanded and improved. Most notably, the contest has started to move away from a focus on violence. As the United States becomes more divided, we thought it was crucial to instead focus on a more positive outlook within the community. In 2016, Patti Beckett became a member of the Board, and has since been elected as chair person. That same year, the contestants were given the choice of two prompts for their essays, instead of just one like in previous years. In 2017, the Board broadened the scope of the contest to include poetry and art, allowing the opportunity for a more diverse base of Hartford students to showcase their talents and ideas. This year, the contest has been ushered into the 21st century, now allowing students to not only use this website as a source of information for the contest, but also to submit their work directly through the "submit" tab.
As any good non-profit, we are constantly aiming to improve. If you have any suggestions on how we can enhance our contest, please let us know in the "contact" tab. If you would like to donate to our contest, please visit the "donate" tab for more information.