Kimball High School students Olivia Taylor and Caitlynne McNamara were named winners in the 2020 Congressional Art Contest sponsored by Rep. Josh Harder.
Taylor is the second place winner for her artwork “Childhood” and McNamara won third place for her drawing, “Contemplation.”
Every spring, the Congressional Institute, in concert with local members of Congress, sponsors the Congressional Art Competition, which gives local high school students a chance to compete for the honor of having their work displayed on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC.
Harder, who represents the Tracy area, selected this year’s winners which were announced on Monday.
Taylor, who graduated in May, said her artwork started out as an art class assignment to paint a bicycle.
For her canvas she selected a page from a 2014 edition of the Tracy Press.
“I was just trying to find a newspaper that reflected kind of a dark subject matter and that was one my teacher already had in her room,” Taylor said.
As she progressed on the watercolor painting she saw a deeper message in the image.
“As I did it and put it on the newspaper it got more meaning behind it, kind of like how children are often shadowed from the harshness of the world and what not,” Taylor said.
“Childhood” took about two weeks to complete and was her first entry in the Congressional Art Competition.
Taylor is currently attending San Joaquin Delta College and hopes to minor in art.
McNamara was a freshman at Kimball High in the spring when she entered her ink pen drawing into the competition.
Looking back she said the COVID-19 pandemic influenced her artwork.
“When I started drawing this I didn’t really notice it but now that I look back on it I kind of realized it sort of represents what you can feel during quarantine,” McNamara said. “Actually almost like isolation, you feel cut off from everybody and I know the piece is actually cutoff, she’s on her own little island — but you kind of feel away from everybody — it kind of gets kind of lonely because you kind of start miss the things that were so normal.”
McNamara said she sat one afternoon and drew the artwork in about an hour. This was her first time entering the Congressional competition. McNamara was the first place winner as an eighth grade student in the 2019 Best of Tracy “Day in the Life of Tracy” photo contest for grades seven through nine.
She said she wants to eventually be a travel journalist taking pictures and making drawings to illustrate her stories.
This year’s contest featured 28 students who submitted paintings, drawings, collages, prints, mixed media, photography and computer-generated art.
Taylor will have her artwork displayed in Harder’s Washington, DC office. McNamara’s artwork will be hung in the congressman’s Modesto office.
This year’s grand prize winner was Martha Wenstrup of Turlock for her artwork “Read Between the Lines.”
Since 1982 more than 650,000 students have competed in the Congressional Art Contest.
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