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Park Center Student Wins Congressional Art Competition Hosted by Rep. Phillips

Today, Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03) congratulated Tai Nguyen for winning the 2021 Congressional Art Competition in Minnesota’s Third District. Tai’s beautiful piece, Entrenched Blossoms, was selected by a panel of expert judges and will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol alongside winning artwork from across the country for one year.

Entrenched Blossoms by Tai Nguyen wins Congressional Art Competition

“I want to issue a heartfelt congratulations to Tai for winning this year’s Congressional Art Competition,” said Rep. Phillips. “All of our student artists showed remarkable resilience, spirit, and skill in their pieces, which were among the most moving and impressive my office has seen in the three years we’ve hosted the Congressional Art Competition.”

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. In Minnesota’s Third District, a panel of expert judges including Ken Herren, artist and CEO of Your Art’s Desire, Stephanie Frey, Minnesota artist and art educator, and Jenny Stice, another Minnesota artist and art educator, reviewed 47 pieces from students at nine high schools for originality and technical skill. Second place was awarded to Tess Nelson from PiM Arts High School, third place was awarded to Matthew Macmillan from Maple Grove, fourth place was awarded to Noreen Si from Bloomington Jefferson, and fifth place was awarded to Marie Heyda from Providence Academy. 

Wayzata High School artist Ria Thakker’s piece, Lights Will Guide You Home, was voted the winner of the People’s Choice Award by the constituents of MN-03. It will hang in the Congressman’s Washington, DC office.

Rep. Phillips had the opportunity to learn more about Tai’s art and his future plans:

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

I am a quiet, reserved kind of person that has always felt like I could create something greater than myself. My family has always been supportive of me and they have always provided me an outlet to express myself. With that outlet, I was always immersed into technology and art. My interests stem from the normal interests that everyone has: video games, music, fashion, and literature. I always desired to be like them, a creator. I want to create projects that others can witness, contemplate, and enjoy. I have always seen the future as an unpredictable variable, but it is not a variable that cannot be influenced. Although I have not set out the great life goals that I want to achieve, I am taking steps to understand what I want now and later.

Q: What inspires your art?

As someone who is always imagining various creative concepts, I am first and foremost an observer. I have the belief that the relationship between an artist and the world is of appreciation. I always look for underrated, often unseen artists that have their own styles. I am amazed by those who are able to create with such passion with their work, but are not as appreciated by the broader world. I want to be their audience and their creative witnesses. My inspiration comes through various concepts, from the joyful to the bleak. All that matters to me is the artist's integrity and truth. That is what I look for in art and what inspires me.

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

As stated in the first question, I am not entirely sure. Though I do have aspirations to create for the world, I am not sure if that is the path I want to take for the future. Right now, I want to create. I want to explore other mediums, such as 3D rendering and video editing, to express myself. I turned to computer-generated art as I am not that talented with traditional art, but I did not want to let that stop me. Although I am keeping my options open, I am looking to a career that allows me to express my visions productively. I always want to learn, and I want to focus on what I can do now and learn about what I can do later.

Once again, thank you for awarding me the winner of Minnesota's 3rd District's Annual Congressional Art Competition for 2021.