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Higgins announces student winners of Congressional Art Competition


Mon, Jun 27th 2016 04:55 pm
Pictured, from left: Jonathan Bayley, Jamie Bayley, Congressman Brian Higgins and Ricky Chen.
Pictured, from left: Jonathan Bayley, Jamie Bayley, Congressman Brian Higgins and Ricky Chen.

Grand prizewinner a Cardinal O'Hara High School student

Congressman Brian Higgins announced the winners of the annual Congressional Art Competition. The 2016 grand prizewinner from his district is Ricky Chen, an exchange student from China living in Williamsville and attending Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda.

The front-runners from each congressional district were recently 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. Chen visited Capitol Hill with his host family, Jamie Bayley and Jonathan Bayley.

Ricky will study architecture at Virginia Tech in the fall.

"The arts play an important role in education," said Higgins, a member of the congressional arts caucus. "This is a great opportunity to showcase the work of talented Western New York students."

Below is a complete list of this year's winners:

Grand Prize

  • Name: Ricky Chen
  • School: Cardinal O'Hara High School
  • Title: "Nourishment"
  • Medium: Acrylic on canvas

1st Runner-up and Online Competition - People's Choice Award

  • Name: Taylor Zlotek
  • School: West Seneca East High School
  • Title: "Beaux"
  • Medium: Pen and ink

2nd Runner-up

  • Name: Elena Ritz
  • School: Williamsville South High School
  • Title: "Cat's Meow"
  • Medium: Colored pencil and chalk pastel

Best of Western New York 

  • Name: Tiana Gonzalez
  • School: South Park High School
  • Title: "Buffalo Renaissance: Larkin Love"
  • Medium: Tempera on board

In May, Higgins hosted a ceremony for teachers, students and their families where the top winners were announced. Art submissions from high school students throughout the district were on display at an art show held in the lobby of the Larkin at Exchange Building.

The public was also invited to vote for their favorite piece through anonline gallery featuring the students' work. This year, nearly 740 online votes were tallied through the virtual gallery on Higgins' website.

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; Jen Swan, communication and administration coordinator for Arts Services Initiative of Western New York Inc.; Caroline Barry, local artist and digital content writer at First Niagara; and Samantha Epps, events director at Larkin Square.

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