The winners of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition for Maine’s Second District included students from Auburn, Lee, Lewiston and Rangeley. All were recognized for their work, with first place going to Whitney Perkins from Lewiston High School.
Perkins’ photograph, “Curious,” is to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building alongside winning artists from districts across the country.
Competition jurors Carolyn Wallace-Zani and Teddi-Jann Covell selected the winners. Wallace-Zani is an award-winning artist who owns a Brewer studio and teaches in Bangor. Covell, an Orono painter with work in Damariscotta, Hallowell and Millinocket galleries, also judged the work.
“I wish I could personally congratulate each artist for submitting their work into this competition,” said Wallace-Zani, according to a news release from U.S. Rep. Jared Golden’s office. “I also applaud them for having the confidence to put themselves out there for judgment. I must commend each artist on their hard work. It has been a challenge to select just a few among so many deserving entries. I appreciate and sincerely ‘thank you, students,’ for sharing your art: your skills, your ideas, and your voice. It has been my pleasure viewing your entries this week. Keep on making your art.”
“Not only did the composition suck the viewer into the photograph dramatically, but also, the use of mundane repetitive shapes lead the eye towards a common point, that is interrupted by the masked student …” said Covell of the first place piece, “Curious.” “Her backwards glance caught us looking into the now-common life of all students around the world during this pandemic. Even though the mask hides a smile it cannot mask the inquisitiveness of youngsters. The use of black and white photography illustrates how color and vibrancy is sucked out of the daily school rituals, and the empty seats reveal how many children are learning in flat virtual classrooms.”
Sophia Carson from Edward Little High School in Auburn earned second place with “Idle Hands.”
Rangeley Lakes Regional School’s Ella Shaffer entered “Lily” and was chosen as third place.
“Just a girl” from Lexi Bachelder at Rangeley Lakes Regional School received an honorable mention.
Ruoxuan Zhang from Lee Academy also received an honorable mention for “Freedom.”
The final honorable mention went to Rangeley Lakes Regional School’s Addaline Hemingway with “Blue.”
“I had high hopes for the submissions we’d receive for this year’s Congressional Art Competition, but the students really went above and beyond,” said Golden in the release. “This contest is a great showcase of the insight and skill of Maine students, and it’s an annual reminder of how fortunate we are to have so many talented young artists in our state. Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you for making our district proud.”
The Maine College of Art and Maine Arts Commission, as well as the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, partner each year to choose the winning submissions for the Congressional Art Competition. The competition began in 1982 to help members of Congress support young artists from districts across the country.