2016 Congressional Art Competition Winners Celebrated

BrianJoJo Zeitlin’s “Brian”

The Maine Arts Commission is proud to announce a special, invitation-only event at the Blaine House to celebrate this year’s Congressional Art Competition winners. The tea, hosted by First Lady Ann LePage, the Congressional offices of Representatives Pingree and Poliquin, and the Commission will feature the work of JoJo Zeitlin, a junior at Cape Elizabeth High School in Congressional District 1, and Michaela Shorey, a senior at Rangeley Lakes Regional School in District 2.

Ten other students, five from each congressional district who have been awarded runner up and honorable mention status for their art, will also receive certificates at the event. The First Place submissions will hang in the U.S Capitol for one year along with student art from participating Congressional Districts across the nation.

“We are very lucky to have this kind of talent in our student population here in Maine,” said Julie Richard, Maine Arts Commission Executive Director. “It reinforces the strength and quality of our art education programs across the state. Congratulations to our winners and our finalists.”

Zeitlin won District 1 with her black and white photographic portrait of an older man entitled “Brian.” First District jurors  Amy Cousins, an art teacher at Gorham Middle School and Piper Bolduc, an art teacher at Old Orchard Beach High School, said they appreciated her skill in capturing the personality of an individual, which they believe is a unique talent for an artist of her age. They commented on the outstanding quality of her pieces as shown through her technical ability to use depth of field and dark contrasts to enhance the subject matter.

“Jo Jo’s photograph shows great composition and technique. As an islander, I love that the image is so distinctly rural, coastal ‘Maine,’” Representative Pingree said in announcing the award. “I think it will really stand out and I’m proud that it will represent Maine’s First District when it is hung at the Capitol this June.  My congratulations to JoJo and all the top finishers of this year’s competition—everyone’s work was truly exceptional.”

ShoreyMichaela Shorey’s “An Older-Young Girl”

Shorey’s top piece, entitled “An Older-Young Girl,” was also a portrait made from various media including pastels and cut paper. Jurors for Maine’s Second District—Robyn Holman, the former curator at USM’s Lewiston Gallery, and Anthony Shostak, an arts educator at Bates Gallery-found Shorey skilled in using the media to convey a sense of the person, and commented on her strong sense of composition, uniting all the elements to further convey the work’s title.

“Each year, I am astonished by the tremendous artistic ability and creative talent of our Maine high schoolers,” said Congressman Poliquin. “I am incredibly proud to showcase Michaela’s artwork at the U.S. Capitol for this next year, where it will be admired and enjoyed by thousands of Americans from across the country. Congratulations, Michaela, on a job well done!”

The judges recognized the work of five other students from each District as follows: District One first runner-up Anna Callahan of Brunswick; second runner-up Abigail Stevens-Roberts of Saco; and honorable mentions Katie Sprague of Manchester, Gabriel Rosen of Portland and Caitlyn Duffy of Gorham. District Two first runner-up Rachel Flannery of Auburn; second runner-up Chandler Clothier of Lewiston; and honorable mentions Olivia Berger of South Paris, Alanna Fellows of Lewiston and Shin Hye Hwang of Hebron.

Every year beginning in 1982, the U.S. House of Representatives sponsors the nationwide Congressional Art Competition to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Over 700,000 high school students have competed for the honor of having their work shown in the U.S. Capitol.

The Maine Arts Commission coordinates the competition in Maine, which is open to all highschool students and results in a winner, first runner up, second runner up and honorable mention chosen from each of the state’s two congressional districts. The competition is co-hosted by the Commission and the offices of Representatives Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree.

To select student work for consideration, the Maine Arts Commission partners with the Maine College of Art and the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  Gold and silver winners from the Maine Regional Scholastic Art Awards are automatically submitted to be juried in February for the Congressional Art Competition.

For more information on the Congressional Art Competition in Maine, please contact the Maine Arts Commission at info@mainearts.com To learn more about the Commission’s arts education programs please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Education, at argy.nestor@maine.gov  To learn more about the Commission’s visual arts programs please contact Julie Horn, Director, Visual Arts Programs, at Julie.horn@maine.gov