Every spring, the Congressional Institute, a nonprofit organization, sponsors the Congressional Art Competition. The nationwide competition is a visual art contest where one high school student is selected as the winner for every congressional district. The winners are recognized both in their district and at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The winning pieces of art are displayed at the U.S. Capitol for a year. This year, the student from our district, California’s 11th congressional district, was one of Las Lomas’ own students, junior Yoon-Ju Kim.
“Being brought up from an artistic environment with parents and relatives with art-related majors, I have always been interested in art since the beginning. However, my passion and skill in art grew immensely in high school when I started taking art classes at Las Lomas,” said Yoon-Ju Kim. “I didn’t particularly practice my art skills in certain ways, but I think it progressed naturally after I started taking art classes at Las Lomas. Working on countless projects here helped me discover many techniques… So far it’s a hobby for me. But I would like to apply to some art schools in case my mind changes.”
This year, there were 51 pieces of art submitted from 16 high schools throughout our congressional district. The runner-up was Head-Royce School junior Hannah Anderson for the piece, “Avian Anomaly.” The third place winner was Monte Vista High School freshman Haoran Xia for the piece “Old Man in the Snow.” These second and third place pieces will be displayed in Congressman DeSaulnier’s Walnut Creek and Richmond offices. “I know my friend in AP Art, Mia Portner, also entered in the competition,” Kim said.
“This year’s Congressional Art Competition submissions showcased tremendous creativity from across our district. The level of talent on display in each piece is inspiring,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “Congratulations to Yoon-Ju Kim of Las Lomas High School for winning this year’s competition. I look forward to seeing it displayed among art from across the country in the U.S. Capitol.”
In June, the winner of each competition is given a free trip to Washington D.C. for an annual event organized by the Congressional Art Competition. The winner is also allowed to bring one family member. “I’m so excited for this trip! I’m planning to go with my mother,” Kim said.
Students who wanted to join the competition could do so by submitting their entry to their representative’s office. “I found about the competition from another competition’s coordinator who asked if I was willing to submit any artworks for the congressional competition. So I created a piece in two days and turned it in,” Kim added.
The winning entries are selected by panels of district artists. The judges were Michelle Krup, DVC Art and Photography Department Instructor, Rebecca Talley, Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts & Graphic Communications, and John Finger, Finger Art & Design, Artist, and Gallery Owner.
When asked what her piece was and what inspired her, Yoon-Ju Kim explained “My winning piece is called Trapped. The medium is charcoal on paper with collage of fabric and string… I felt that at least once in our lives, we all feel trapped and controlled by an unknown force. Some may feel trapped by certain societal expectations, peer pressure, racial boundaries, and so much more. This feeling of being contained/trapped in an unpleasant force/box inspired me to create this piece.”