Art to End the Death Penalty

an invitation for young people

The Ministry Against the Death Penalty (MADP), led by Sister Helen Prejean, invites young people (ages 16-22) to submit creative art in support of abolition of the death penalty. Artists are invited to submit to the following categories:



(an original composition, no more than 5 minutes)



(an original play, no more than 30 pages or 5 minutes)

visual art

Visual Art

(original visual art in any medium, up to 10 images)



(original poetry or prose, no more than 10 pages)

First place prizes of $500 and second place prizes of $250 will be awarded to artists in each category. Winning submissions will be shared publicly in early 2024.

Inspired by Sister Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty That Sparked a National Debate, MADP recognizes the importance of creative art to change hearts and minds in the United States, and the potential for art to catalyze abolition of the death penalty. Submitting artists should engage with one or more versions of Dead Man Walking prior to submission, including:

Dead Man Walking reissue book cover th anniversary shadowed


Dead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty That Sparked a National Debate written by Sister Helen Prejean

Dead Man Walking movie poster


Dead Man Walking directed by Tim Robbins

Dead Man Walking opera


Dead Man Walking composed by Jake Heggie and libretto by Terrance McNally

Dead Man Walking play script


Dead Man Walking written by Tim Robbins

Submitting artists are also encouraged to review the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Sister Helen Prejean’s archives, housed at DePaul University. When preparing submissions, artists should be prepared to respond to the following questions:

What is your vision for ending the death penalty in the United States?

How is your art inspired by Dead Man Walking?

How do you envision your art being used by people and organizations working for abolition of the death penalty in the United States?

Submit by World Day Against the Death Penalty: October 10, 2023.

To Submit: Complete the application form and email along with supporting art files (.pdf, .doc, .docx, .mp3, .jpg, .png) to