Works of art by nearly 100 high school students from around the west metro adorned the walls of Minnetonka Center for the Arts April 17-24.
The pieces were submitted for consideration in this year’s Congressional Art Competition for Minnesota’s Third District, which culminated in an April 24 awards ceremony at the arts center hosted by U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips.
Each spring, nationwide high school art competitions sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives invite young artists to submit their best work.
High school students living or attending school in Minnesota’s Third District were invited to create original 2D works of art in the medium of their choice for consideration.
After a panel of judges looked over the 96 pieces of art, Chaska High School senior Jenna September was awarded first place for her digitally created piece “Road Trip.”
The piece depicts a diverse group of five young women, two of which are painting flowery designs onto a large green van.
September said the piece took about two months to create using a digital medium that she’s been working in since 2016. This was her first time submitting work for this competition.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said after the award announcement.
The young artist said she plans to continue crafting digital pieces in the graphic-novel style and hopes to put her talents to work in her future career.
“I’m hoping to illustrate for kid’s novels or something like that,” she said.
For placing first, September will fly to Washington D.C., where her piece will hang for one year alongside art from other congressional districts across the nation in the underground tunnel leading to the U.S. Capitol.
“When we pass as members of Congress, it’s a nice little reminder of home. ... And it brightens up a really kind of dreary tunnel,” Phillips said at the awards ceremony.
Judges also selected additional pieces for display in Phillips’ Minnetonka office. The art will be displayed alongside the people’s choice award winner, which will be announced Wednesday, May 8.
In second place was awarded to Osseo High School student Al-Arrat Mamadou’s photograph “After Curfew.” In third place was Park Center High School student Sunny Moua’s digital drawing “A Proper Wife.” In fourth place was Osseo High School student Marina Olson’s “Origami Tonal Drawing.” In fifth place was Bloomington Kennedy High School student Diana Vazquez Raymond’s drawing “Taken Over by Society.”
The competition began in 1982 to recognize and encourage artistic talent in each congressional district and the nation. More than 650,000 high school students have participated in the competition.