The 2020 Congressional Art Competition will be remembered for the ingenuity and innovation that Members’ offices showed in celebrating the artistic achievements of high school students. Students this year are struggling as they watch academic milestones like proms, end-of-year exams, special field trips, and graduation ceremonies transitioned to virtual platforms or vehicle parades.

The emotions surrounding this year’s competition were summed up by a senior in Mission, TX, who placed first in the competition for Texas’ 28th Congressional District.

“I cried when I first heard this news, never did I think I’d accomplish so much with my art,” said Karina Vela.

Read the full article about Ms. Vela.

In Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District, high school senior Autumn Blaylock channeled the COVID-19 global pandemic into her artwork titled, Pandemic Prom.”

See Ms. Blaylock’s artwork here.

This year’s graduating class of high school seniors were born a year after the Twin Towers fell. The attacks of Sept. 11 are a historical event for them, rather than something they lived through. They have never known a time when the country hasn’t been at war. They have grown up with tremendous advancements in technology that let congressional offices host virtual competitions in which some let constituents vote for their favorite artwork while others featured online galleries.

In New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District, Rep Chris Smith’s office transitioned to a virtual show.

“For these young student artists whose school year has been turned upside down by coronavirus, I am happy we found a way forward and I am grateful to the parents, judges and teachers for making needed adjustments,” Smith said in an article from Tap Into Middletown.

Jill Alexander, an art teacher whose students have entered the competition for the past six years, said they begin working toward the competition in September.

“I am delighted that this year’s show wasn’t canceled, but continued as an online competition,” she told the publication. … “High school students across the country will miss the opportunity to participate in many events this year, including proms, sporting events and even graduation. We are really pleased the art competition survives.”

Click here to view a gallery for the New Jersey-4 art competition.

Rep. Tom Graves, Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, posted a video discussing the art competition from the Cannon Tunnel where the first-place winners’ artwork hangs so the tens of thousands of tourists, visitors, staff, media, dignitaries and Members of Congress can appreciate each artist’s work. Watch the video.