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Congressional Art Competition seeks submissions
Pitman High School student Nairobi Mellow poses for a picture with Congressman Jeff Denham and her painting titled "Those That Stomp," which took first place in the 2016 10th District Congressional Art Competition. - photo by Journal file photo

A piece of art is always a stunning sight no matter where it’s hung, but local high school students now have the opportunity to see their masterpieces displayed in one of the most prestigious locations in the country thanks to California’s 10th District Congressional Art Competition.

The Congressional Art Competition was established in 1982, and since then, more than 650,000 students have participated. This year, entrants will be considered for two contests: the official contest, which will feature a panel of local judges, and for the first time, the “Valley Vote” contest, where contestants’ artwork will be voted on through an online competition open to the public.

The official winner of the competition will have their artwork hung in the national exhibition located in the Cannon Tunnel of the United States Capitol as a representation of California’s 10th Congressional District, where thousands of visitors pass through each year. The winning student and one guest will also be invited to the competition’s awards ceremony, which will be hosted on Capitol Hill in June 2017, and a scholarship may be offered as well to fly the winner to D.C. for the reception and announcement of the contest’s national winner.

The winner of the “Valley Vote” competition will have their artwork hung and featured in Denham’s D.C. office, while the second and third place winners of the official contest will have the opportunity to have their art displayed in Denham’s Modesto office.

Denham took to Facebook to announce that admissions for the competition are now being accepted.

“This is a competition for high schools throughout the entire country for every Congressional district, and each district has one painting that will be picked and hung in the U.S. Capitol,” said Denham. “I look forward to all of you submitting your artwork, and I look forward to seeing some great winners once again.”

The winner of last year’s competition was Pitman High School student Nairobi Mello, whose painting titled “Those That Stomp” took home the top prize. According to Denham, paintings for the official contest will be judged by a panel with “art expertise.”

Accepted mediums for submission to the competition include paintings, drawings, two-dimensional collages, prints, mixed media, computer-generated art and photographs. All entries must be two-dimensional, measure no more than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide and four inches deep and be original in concept, design and execution.

All artwork and release forms must be delivered to Denham’s Modesto office, 4701 Sisk Road, Suite 202, no later than 5 p.m. April 25. All artwork will be posted on Denham’s website on April 26 and the public will be invited to participate by casting a vote for their favorite piece. Online voting will be closed at noon on May 8, and a public reception to honor all participants and announce the winners of the official and “Valley Vote” contest will take place the same day.

For more information, visit Denham’s website, or the competition’s official website, To request release forms or for detailed inquiries, contact Denham’s project coordinator, Kassi Fortado, at 209-579-5458.