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The Congressional Institute welcomed high school students from around the country for the winners’ reception for the 32nd Congressional Art Competition on Wednesday, June 26. The event was held at the Capitol Visitor Center at the U.S. Capitol.

This year, 421 congressional districts and territories participated in the Congressional Art Competition sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives. Each participating Member of the House was responsible for holding a competition within his or her own jurisdiction. The artwork of the first place winner from each district will be on display in the at the U.S. Capitol campus for an 11-month exhibit.

To celebrate their achievement, each winning artist and a guest were invited to attend a reception at the U.S. Capitol. While in Washington, DC, the winners and their guests had the opportunity to meet with their Members of Congress, tour the Capitol, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Congress.

With the high rate of participation by congressional offices, the winner’s reception was split into a morning and afternoon session, both of which were followed by a program of speakers. Mark Strand, President of the Congressional Institute, served as emcee. Strand, who has served as President of the Congressional Institute since 2007, applauded the students for their hard work and dedication to arts. “You, the winners of the 2013 Congressional Art Competition, take your place among the thousands of good citizens who have enriched our country with your art. We could not be happier to recognize your talents and contributions to the American culture,” he said.

During the afternoon session, Strand was joined by Representative Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), the two Members of the House who served as the 2013 competition Co-Chairs. “I hope you all continue to develop your creativity and your academic talents as well as pursue the endless opportunities I know you will be encountering,” Representative Bonamici encouraged the students.

Representative Aderholt praised the winners, saying, “It is absolutely impressive to see all the work that’s hanging” in the exhibit.

Attendees of both receptions had the opportunity to hear from the Congressional Art Competition supporters who provided awards to all the winners. Monica del Rio, spoke on behalf of Southwest Airlines, which provided two free round-trip tickets to winners from congressional districts that are within 200 miles of a Southwest airport. Rina Gaitonde, represented Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which offers a $3,000 yearly scholarship to winners who apply and enroll. Tacy Trowbridge presented for Adobe, which has awarded each winner a one-year subscription to their new Creative Cloud software suite.

In addition to the Congressional Art Competition supporters, each session featured a keynote speaker who came from one of the Co-Chair’s district. Painter and art instructor Carole Forêt spoke at the invitation of Representative Aderholt, and film producer Arianne Sutner did so at the request of Representative Bonamici.

To view the winning entries for the Congressional Art Competition, please click here.

To view a video of the morning reception, please click here.

To view a video of the afternoon reception, please click here.