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Artistic Discovery Contest

Congressional Art Competition open to high schoolers

Northwest Guardian

Published: 04:08PM April 19th, 2018

Courtesy Photo

Iris Han, of Olympia, was a 2015 Art Competition winner for her work, “Unveiled Olympia.”

More information

Artwork entered in the contest may be up to 26 inches by 26 inches, including the frame, and may be up to 4 inches in depth. No framed piece should weigh more than 15 pounds. The art work may be:

• Paintings — including oil, acrylics, and watercolor

• Drawings — including pastels, colored pencil, pencil, charcoal, ink and markers

• Collage

• Prints — including lithographs, silkscreen and block prints

• Mixed media

• Computer generated art

• Photography

All entries must be an original in concept, design and execution.

With a host of budding young artists on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, here’s an opportunity for talented youth to get some well-deserved recognition.

High school students interested in a chance at having their artwork displayed at the U.S. Capitol have until April 27 to submit their art for the Congressional Art Competition, also known as the Artistic Discovery Contest.

Each year, one submission is selected from each Congressional District across the nation as a winner in the competition. The contest is sponsored by members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The winners are recognized in their district with a reception for participants and their families.

Then, the winning artist is flown to Washington, D.C., for a ceremony at the Capitol, where winning art from each district is displayed for one year.

The Artistic Discovery Contest began in 1982. Since then, more than 650,000 high school students from across the nation have competed, according to the U.S. House of Representatives web site.

Although no winner has yet been selected from JBLM, this year could be the first if budding high school-age artists from the base take the time to submit their work.

Cindy Arnold, co-director at JBLM’s SKIES Unlimited, said she’s hoping at least a few JBLM kids will compete.

“Any time we are able to introduce our military children and families to the arts, I feel we have accomplished something that is great,” she said.

In addition to the talented youths at SKIES Unlimited, Arnold said she is in awe of the creative kids and dedicated staff at the neighboring Teen Zone at Hillside Youth Center.

“They are dedicated to making sure that our military teens have year-round access to the arts,” Arnold said.

Charissa Lizama, assistant director at Hillside Youth Center, said she expects some of Hillside’s youth to submit art to the Artistic Discovery Contest.

“I hadn’t heard of this contest before, but we do a lot of other contests,” she said. “It allows our kids to be recognized for the great work they do. We have so many talented kids. So often one will sit in the corner and draw, but unless you ask them about it, they aren’t likely to show you. And, so often it’s a really great piece of art.”

For children who live within the 10th Congressional District, Artistic Discovery Contest art — in a broad range of media, from oil and pastels to colored pencils, markers, lithographs, computer generated or photography — is submitted to Congressman Denny Heck’s office. The winner is selected by a panel of district artists.

Heck said he’s a big supporter of the arts and is excited to encourage young artists and inspire creative pursuits that can benefit the community.

“Just look at how Dale Chihuly has influenced the art world after growing up here in the South Sound,” Heck said.

Heck said he is inspired by the talent and hard work of previous young artists who participated in the competition.

“Every time I’m headed to the Capitol to vote, I pass by the display, which includes the winner of the latest 10th Congressional District Art Competition,” he said. “The piece always serves as a reminder of home and how important our future generation is to our nation — whether their contributions are national service, the soft power of an impressive piece of art or both. It’s a great program, and I hope we have a lot of interest this year.”

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