Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced Orchard Park High School student Whitney Bender as the winner of the annual Congressional Art Competition for New York’s 27th District. Students from Erie and Chautauqua Counties were invited to participate in the annual congressional art competition, “An Artistic Discovery.” The competition, initiated by Congress in 1982, includes hundreds of thousands of high school students from across the nation. One piece from each Congressional district will be displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
“Art plays an important role in educating our young people,” said Congressman Higgins. “I am amazed by the outstanding pieces submitted by students each year. This competition gives us an opportunity to highlight the great talent we have here in Western New York in a national forum.”
On May 17th Congressman Higgins hosted a ceremony and reception for teachers, students and their families where the top winners were announced. The winning piece, an acrylic on canvas, submitted by Whitney Bender from Orchard Park High School, is titled “The Fashion of Arrogance.” Eden High School student, Kelsey Carson’s ebony pencil work titled “Amber” won second place. James Martin, a student of McKinley High School, won third place with his watercolor titled “Lincoln as an African American.” Cheektowaga High Student Danielle Malicki came in fourth with her acrylic on canvas piece named “Patterns.” Francis Norman, a student from Frontier High school, submitted a silver gelatin print titled “Gridlock” receiving the fifth place award and named “Best Representation of the District.”
Albright Knox Art Gallery Board Member Leslie Zemsky and Caroline Barry, a local artist and freelance writer, served as judges for the competition. Fifty-four pieces were submitted in total from students at Cheektowaga High School, St. Francis, Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, Brocton High School, Frontier High School, Eden High School, McKinley, Iroquois, Fredonia High School, Immaculata Academy, Springville-Griffith Institute and Orchard Park High School.
The winning student from each district is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony in the Nation’s Capitol on June 25, 2008. Kate Wesp from Southwest Airlines was present at Congressman Higgins’ Art Reception to present the winner and her parents with three free round trip tickets to Washington, DC. Southwest donates tickets to students across the country in areas they serve.
Click here to see the winning artwork.