It happened again this spring. No, not the start of the Major League Baseball season with the Chicago Cubs and White Sox starting play. Although that part is true. No, what happens every 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 in the “Congressional Art Competition.”
It happened again this spring in the 2nd Illinois’ Congressional District, culminating in the announcement of the winning contestants by Congresswoman Robin Kelly, of the winners of the 2016 Congressional Art Competition for high school students during a reception at South Suburban College’s Lee E. Dulgar Gallery.
This spring and this year’s winner is Paul Somerville, a student at Thornwood High School, who won first place for his entry titled, “A Boy in the City.” Paul’s artwork will be displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. He was also awarded two round-trip tickets to Washington D.C. to attend a reception honoring the winning artists from all 50 states.
“We had 19 young people express their truth through artwork that was remarkably imaginative and thoughtful,” Congresswoman Kelly said. “Thank you to the art teachers for guiding the talent of their students and to our six judges who were entrusted with the difficult job of selecting the best of the best.”
The Second runner-up was Ashley Deckelman, a student at Homewood-Flossmoor, for her piece titled, “Defloured.” Third runner-up was Lucy Sloan, also from Homewood-Flossmoor High School, for “Nested.”
Assisting at the reception were the S.W.A.G.G Girls (Students With A Goal Toward Greatness), from Chateaux Elementary School in Hazel Crest. Nineteen students representing four schools submitted entries. The high school art competition was established by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 to acknowledge and support the artistic talent of America’s young adults.
Last year, Congresswoman Robin Kelly announced the winners of the 2015 Congressional Art Competition for high school students, during a reception at Prairie State College’s Christopher Art Gallery. The 2015 winner was a student from Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights. The student, Jordyn Bush, won first place for her entry titled, “Jordyn Alexis.” Jordyn’s artwork was displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. She was also awarded two round-trip tickets to Washington D.C. to attend a reception honoring the winning artists from all 50 states.
“I was amazed by the talent of these young artists,” Kelly said at the time of the 2015 awards. “Each one deserved a special award for creativity and imagination. I hope they will continue to express themselves through art and develop their remarkable talent. My thanks also go out to the art teachers for guiding their students and inspiring them to create such beautiful works.”
First runner-up was Emma Novak, a student at Homewood-Flossmoor, for her piece titled, “Macarons.” Second runner-up was Lucy Sloan, also from Homewood-Flossmoor High School, for “Gone Hunting.” And third runner-up was Maria Salcedo, of Marian Catholic High School, for “Ms. Music.”
Thirty students representing four high schools submitted entries. Other schools participating included Hillcrest High School and Independence High School. The high school art competition was established by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 to acknowledge and support the artistic talent of America’s young adults.
The 2014 winners were also announced in the Lee E. Dulgar Gallery, located at South Suburban College in South Holland. The 2014 winner of the Congressional Art Competition in the Second Congressional District of Illinois was James “Drew” Richardson, a resident of Chicago’s South Side and a student at Walter Payton High School, who won first place for his entry titled, “Train of Thought.”
The 2014 second place winner was Loreta Sutkus, a student at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, for her piece titled, “Power Up the System.” The third place winner was Isabel Angulo, of Thornton High School, for “Special Deliveries.”
Author’s note: John Presta is a volunteer political communications and social media consultant to Congresswoman Robin Kelly.