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Chaska Student Wins Congressional Art Competition Hosted By Rep. Phillips

MINNETONKA, MN – Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) announced that Chaska High School Senior Jenna September won first place in the Congressional Art Competition hosted by his office. Judges chose September’s digital artwork, “Roadtrip,” as the winner out of 96 entries from talented high school students around Minnesota’s Third District. September’s piece and will hang in the U.S. Capitol alongside winning artwork from Congressional Districts across the country for one year.

“Jenna is a first-generation immigrant whose family moved to the United States from South Africa in search of opportunity and education,” said Rep. Phillips. “Her story is uniquely American and her artistic talent is extraordinary. I’m honored to host her in Washington D.C. this summer, proud to hang her piece in the halls of Congress, and I will be rooting for her as she pursues her dreams at college next year and beyond.”

The House of Representatives has sponsored this nationwide high school arts competition every spring since 1982, and more than 650,000 students have participated over three decades. Second place was awarded to Al-Arrat Mamadou of Osseo, third place was awarded to Sunny Moua of Park Center, fourth place was awarded to Marina Olson of Osseo and fifth place was awarded to Diana Vazquez of Bloomington. All runners-up will be displayed in Rep. Phillips’s Minnetonka Office alongside the soon-to-be-announced People’s Choice winner.

Members of the public are invited to vote for the People’s Choice Award until May 8th by clicking this link.

Jenna September shared more about her journey and goals for the future:

Q: Can you tell us a little more about yourself, your family, your interests and your life’s path?


I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. I moved to America in 2016 after my family won in the diversity visa lottery. My mother is a receptionist and my father works in the telecommunications field. My older brother attends Hennepin Technical College, studying audio production, and my twin sister is at high school with me. She’s interested in writing and publishing and will be attending Hofstra University in the autumn.  While it was a family decision, my parents’ main motivation to move to America was for the opportunities for schooling and careers for me and my siblings. My interests include drawing, painting, writing and reading.

Q: What inspires your art, and how do you create it?


I find my inspiration in animated movies, novels, and video games, but my biggest inspiration is other artists - in class or online - because it feels like we’re a community working together to reach our goals and support each other. I started digital art because I saw such amazing pieces online and wanted to do something similar. I create my pieces using a graphics tablet and pen, and a painting software like Paint Tool Sai or Photoshop.

Q: What goals do you have for your art and your career?


I’ll be attending Tufts University in Boston, majoring in Visual Art. I’m looking forward to living in the city, experiencing new cultures, and making new friends. I hope to improve my art and study 3d and 2d animation, as well as video game programming. My goal is to become an animator or concept artist, and hopefully be able to publish a story/graphic novel with my sister.