Today, Congressman Dave Loebsack announced the winners of the 2009 Congressional Art Contest, “An Artistic Discovery.” This contest was open to all high school students in the Second District of Iowa. This year marks the 27th anniversary of the Congressional Arts Competition, sponsored by the Congressional Arts Caucus. The competition was created to recognize the creative talents of young Americans. School children from across all 435 congressional districts participate each year.
“Art education spurs creative thinking and enhances scholastic performance. Investments in art and music produce incalculable awards and I am impressed with the creative and artistic abilities of the students in Iowa’s Second District,” said Congressman Loebsack. “All of the works submitted to the contest are worthy of being displayed in the Unites States Capitol. Eastern Iowa is fortunate to have such talented students.”
The grand prize winner is Pearl Sawhney from the Maharshi School for her work titled “Angi.” Brittani Freesmeier from Central Lee High School placed second for “Lazy Days,” and Sokhara Shreck from the Maharshi School placed third for “Untitled.” A special mention was awarded to Mary Henderson from the Maharshi School for “Sylvia & Will.” Honorable mentions were awarded to Ray Bubrik from Central Lee High School for “Autumn Splendor,” Avery Mullenneaux from the Maharshi School for “Culvert,” Wendy Van Winkle from Harmony High School for “Peonies Unfolding,” Zack Fett from Central Lee High School for “Alone with the Sky,” Mollie Culter from the Maharshi School for “Laya,” Chosie Titus from the Maharshi School for “Feet,” and Gabrielle Hathaway from the Maharshi School for “October.”
As the first place winner of the Second District Congressional Art Contest, Pearl Sawhney will soon have her winning piece displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. for one year. The second and third places winners, Brittanu Freesmeier and Sokhara Shreck, will have their work hung in Congressman Loebsack’s Washington D.C. office in the Longworth House Office Building, and all honorable mentions will have the option of having their artwork hung in one of the Congressman’s two district offices.
"We're thrilled that Congressman Loebsack took the time to offer so many young Iowa artists this opportunity," said Joe Jennison, Executive Director of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance (ICCA). "Congressman Loebsack has a strong track record of supporting the arts and arts legislation and obviously understands the connection between arts and culture and quality of life; and ICCA was proud to be a small part of this very important project to support the future of arts in Iowa."
The participating artwork was on display at the Legion Arts, an award-winning Cedar Rapids nonprofit, and judged by Mel Andringa, who hosted the contest as well. Joe Jennison, from the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance and Suzy McGrane-Hop from the Corner House Gallery also judged the contest.
“I am grateful to have such an active arts community in Eastern Iowa, and would like to commend Mel Andringa, Joe Jennison, and Suzy McGrane-Hop for ensuring the success of this year’s Congressional Art Competition. The art contest raises awareness of talented students in the area and also serves to increase participation in the arts community as a whole.”
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