By Jon Tatting—
Four high school students from Minnesota’s 8th congressional district were chosen as winners of the 2012 Congressional Art Competition on April 11 at U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack’s office in North Branch.
Tachianna Charpenter, a Moose Lake eighth grader, was awarded first place for a black and white photograph entitled “Alone,” showing a young girl sitting against a building. The judges were impressed by the artist’s ability to generate intrigue, high emotion through the blunt simplicity of the composition and child’s innocence.
“I took this picture of my cousin Belle on a marvelous day in Duluth. I believe this picture is dynamic because it shows movement from the wind. I took it in black and white because it shows the shadows and textures better,” Charpenter explained.
Earning second place was Grand Rapids 11th grader Gabrielle Berkhoel who brought her self portrait to life through a drawing done exclusively in black ink. The judges could not look away from the subject’s wide-eyed stare, which like the first place winner, tugged at emotions.
The panel of judges also selected two honorable mentions: Littlefork-Big Falls seventh grader Sara Swenson’s photograph of a friend at the playground, called “Playground Polka Dots,” and a piece named “Examination” showing the power of color mixed with shapes by Laura Lemke, a ninth grader from Grand Rapids.
“Congratulations to Tachianna for her winning artwork, as well as Gabrielle and our other Eighth District contestants for showcasing their artistic talents,” said Rep. Cravaack.
Judging were Katherine Salverda, a visual artist from Stacy; Roger Elmore, an advertising marketing designer from Wyoming; and Chisago County Commissioner Ben Montzka. They felt every student did a great job, as a certificate of special congressional recognition will be sent to all 29 entrants.
As for the winners, the first place finisher’s artwork will be displayed in the United States Capitol for a year-long “Artistic Discovery” exhibition, highlighting the creative genius of young artists from across the nation.
The second place winner’s piece will be on display in Congressman Cravaack’s main office in North Branch. And the honorable mentions’ art will be recognized with a congressional letter of commendation.
Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. The competition allows members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents.