Congressional High School Art Competition Showcases Talented Oklahoma Teens


Friday, February 18th 2022, 6:25 pm



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An annual springtime tradition in the nation's capital will soon be upon us. The Congressional High School Art Competition is meaningful to all who participate.

Since its launch in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have submitted entries in the competition, which was developed to recognize and encourage artistic talent in each congressional district across the country.

"It’s really amazing to see the talent across the first district," said Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK1), "it’s really incredible."

Each district has its own specific guidance for entering the contest -- some have a particular theme, while others leave it completely up to the artist what to paint, draw or photograph.

Expert panels from each office choose multiple winners with the top prize being to have your work of art hung, along with 434 other works in the tunnel that connects the House office buildings and the Capitol for a year.

"That artist and a parent come up here," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4), "there’s a big ceremony, it’s a pretty cool deal."

Because of COVID, there wasn't a ceremony in 2021, but the winning works were still hung: District 1 -- Anh Truong's "The Gloss Mountain"; District 2 -- Olivia Brennan's "Flowermill"; District 3 -- Isabel Ley's "Symphony"; District 4 -- Alayna Hill's "Still Life in Graphite"; and District 5 -- Hannah Bernstein's "Buffalo."

During the pandemic, with access to the Capitol and congressional office buildings restricted, foot traffic past the artwork has been much reduced. With restrictions being gradually lifted, that should soon change.

"Before COVID and certainly after COVID, there will be literally millions of people that will get to see it as they walk through there," said Rep, Hern.

The members said participation in the competition was down last year, most likely because of the pandemic. They are hoping to see an uptick this year.

"We always want people to do it because it’s their gift," said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK2). "I can’t draw stick-man, I mean you can’t even read my penmanship."

Guidelines for participation and deadlines for submission vary with each office. Those interested should contact the office of their representative.

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