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Congressman Higgins Announces Winners of Student Art Competition

May 9, 2018
Press Release
Winning Piece Headed To U.S. Capitol

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced the winners of the 2018 Congressional Art Competition.  This year a total of 44 pieces of artwork was submitted from students attending 9 local high schools.

“The arts play an important role in education,” said Congressman Higgins.  “This is a great opportunity to showcase the work of talented Western New York students both locally and in our nation’s Capitol.”


Best in Show – The winning piece to be displayed in the tunnel to the U.S. Capitol

Name: Helen Beckley-Forest

School: Nardin Academy High School

Title: “Reach”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas



Best of WNY – Artwork highlighting Western New York

Name: Kennedy Schreier

School: John F. Kennedy HS

Title: “Outside of the Hotel Lafayette”

Medium: Digital Photography



The People’s Choice Award – Decided by the public through online voting

Name: Madeleine HusVar

School: Nardin Academy High School

Title: “BLUE”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas



1st Runner Up

Name: Lumturije Krasniqi

School: John F. Kennedy High School

Title: “Shea’s”

Medium: Oil Painting



2nd Runner Up

Name: Abigail Swiger

School: Mount Mercy Academy

Title: “Penny Wise and I”

Medium: Graphite and Charcoal



Judges for the competition included: Leslie Zemsky, a local artist, Larkin District Director of Fun and past President of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Board of Directors; Caroline Barry, local artist and Senior Marketing Consultant with Key Bank; Kayla Zemsky, a member of the Larkin Development creative department with several years of experience in the New York City art scene including work at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and Nancy Parisi, photographer and journalist contributing to The Buffalo News, Buffalo Spree Magazine and past President of CEPA Gallery.

The top winner from each congressional district is invited to Washington, D.C. for the official unveiling of the gallery, featuring artwork from around the nation, on display in the Cannon Tunnel to the Capitol Building.  Southwest Airlines provides roundtrip airfare for two, so the student and a family member can attend the ceremony. 

Art submissions from high school students throughout the district were on display in a public gallery in the lobby of the Larkin at Exchange building.  An online gallery featuring the students’ work can continue to be viewed at: