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The Congressional Art Competition

 

The Congressional Art Competition is a tremendous opportunity for students from across the country to submit artwork ranging from drawings and paintings, to photography and computer generated designs. Each year since the competition's founding in 1982, the student winners converge on Washington, DC to be honored in a formal recognition ceremony. In 2014, winners from 419 congressional districts attended the event in the US Capitol and had the unique opportunity to see their own artwork displayed alongside those of their peers in neighboring districts. 

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. The Congressional Institute has been seeking ways to also reach out to the Homeschool community so those students can also participate.

Invitations are usually sent to all high schools in Congressional Districts so art instructors can let students know about the contest, giving them plenty of time to create their artwork by April. In 2014, the guidelines for artwork included required artwork to be original, two-dimensional; no larger than 28" x 28" x 4" -- including the frame if it was submitted with a frame -- and weighing no more than 15 lbs.  A variety of mediums were welcome including:

The Congressional Institute, sponsor of the Congressional Art Competition, has just finalized the rules and regulations and submission form for 2015. After the new year, the 2015 Congressional Art Competition will be once again upon us. Winning art pieces are required to arrive in Washington, DC in May.

Students submit entries to their representative's office, and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC. The winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.

For 2014, Congressional Art Competition winner packets contained the following items:

The winning artist for each participating Congressional District was also presented with two round trip tickets courtesy of Southwest Airlines, to Washington, D.C. to visit the Nation's capital and attend an exclusive reception inside the U.S. Capitol Building honoring the country's winners.

Congressman Issa, who represents California's 49th Congressional District, is convinced that creativity is a fundamental quality that stimulates innovation and will help the next generation to contribute to addressing many of society's existing problems. He looks forward to the Congressional Art competition for high school students to compete for the best artwork of the year.

Congressman Issa extended invitations in the past Winter to high schools within his Congressional District for their students to participate in the Annual Congressional Art Competition. In his District, for 2014 students were not required to create anything new for the competition.  Many students had original artwork that they were proud of that they decided to submit into the competition. The submitted entries were judged by an appointed panel of individuals from the art realm including professional artists, art instructors and gallery owners. 

This past June, Congressman Issa presented multiple students from his Congressional District with awards for their participation and excellence in the Art Competition during a private reception in his District Office, as well as featuring it in a newsletter that went out to thousands of constituents. The San Diego Union Tribune was also invited for the Award presentation and covered it in their newspaper the next day. 

Congressman Issa congratulated the District's Congressional Art Competition winner, Christopher Paetow of Encinitas, California for his presentation of Taps, combining photography and digital media.  Congressman Issa said: "Art is a compelling avenue that allow students to convey emotions using various mediums. In Christopher's photograph, he effectively shows the emotion of taps. I encourage all students to follow Christopher's example and use art as a form of storytelling." 

The First Runner up for the 2014 Congressional Art Competition was Katya Rakotz of Rancho Buena Vista High School in Vista, California.  Katya created an oil painting of a dog jumping into a pool to retrieve his coveted ball.  Her painting was featured in lobby of the District Office in Vista, California for Congressman Issa for eight months. 

Creativity inspires ambition and these students will advance the kind of visionary innovation that enhances Americans' way of life and works towards alleviating the novel predicaments to be faced in the decades to come.  The Congressional Art competition is just a small step towards that effort.

Participation in the contest is at the discretion of each Member office. Students are urged to contact their representatives to confirm the school district district's participation and obtain specific guidance.

Additional information about the Congressional Art Competition can be found at: http://www.house.gov/content/educate/art_competition/

 

(above: Deborah Elliott, Applied Technology Department Chair at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, California, stands with her student, Christopher Paetow, the winner of the 2014 Congressional Art Competition for California's 49th Congressional District while Congressman Issa presents a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. Photo by Sunana Batra. Photo courtesy of Office of Congressman Darrell Issa,)

 

(above: Katya Rakotz, now a freshman at the University of Hawaii at Manoa attended a reception in Congressman Darrell Issa's District office in Vista California where her painting, Dog in Water graced the lobby for eight months. Photo by Sunana Batra. Photo courtesy of Office of Congressman Darrell Issa,)

 

(above: Congressional Art Competition artworks from California's 49th Congressional District displayed in the office of Congressman Issa. Photo by Sunana Batra. Photo courtesy of Office of Congressman Darrell Issa,)

 

Resource Library editor's note

Resource Library's editor resides in California's 49th congressional district, and was made aware of the Congressional Art Competition through local media. This article was published in Resource Library December 29, 2014.

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