An area high school student's drawing of everyday life has won her a trip to Washington, D.C.
Kelly Gruber, a junior at , won first place in the 2011 Congressional Art Competition with a colored pencil drawing titled "Working Life," of objects from her desk—algebra homework, a knitting project, calendar and more. Congressman Todd Akin visited Saturday morning to announce the winners of the competition, which 22 local high school students entered. All students were from schools in Akin's 2nd Congressional District.
Annie Spiller and Nicole Dutton of Chesterfield Arts judged the competition, selecting first, second and third place winners. Akin attended the reception Saturday morning to meet the artists and present the awards. He talked to the assembled students, parents and art teachers about what art means to him and what he has learned from his daughter, who is studying art at Hillsdale College in Michigan.
"As you go outside sometimes your senses are more in tune...you see something in a new way. Maybe the day seems crisper, a little bit brighter, and you feel like I'd like to capture that somehow," he said. "So to me, I think we're in a way mimicking our creator in creating things ourselves which reflect beauty or reflect something that we see that we want to capture."
Gruber's work is part of the portfolio she is assembling, with the theme of self identity and personality. This was the second time she entered the competition, which she learned about from her art teacher at Parkway North, Grant Kniffen.
As first place winner, Gruber received two tickets to Washington D.C. to see her artwork hung in the Cannon Tunnel, alongside the work of high school students from around the country. She also won a scholarship to Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, should she decide to apply there.
"I'm really excited; I can't wait to go to D.C.," Gruber said after the results were announced. The trip will be on June 22, the day before she enters a summer program at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Betty Liao, a senior at , placed second with her oil painting titled "The Lonely Mango." The painting will hang in Congressman Akin's office.
"I'm pretty excited," she said, "but I've already been accepted to SCAD, so I'm a little bummed that I didn't get the scholarship."
Liao plans to attend SCAD in the fall to study graphic design. She wants to be either an animator or an illustrator and author.
Clayton Hotze, a senior at , won the third place award with his photo, "Chrome & Patina." His work will hang at Chesterfield Arts for a month. Hotze said he only found out about the contest about two weeks ago, when his art teacher at school came to him and suggested that he enter. He selected the photo he would use, had it printed and framed, then dropped it off at Chesterfield Arts—all within the past week.
Hotze said he is interested in photography as an art form as well as a storytelling tool. He intends to attend the University of Missouri for photojournalism in the fall, with a focus on sports photography.