Congressman Honors Art Students


Congressman Charlie Dent honored high school students at An Artistic Discovery Competition and Exhibition on Tuesday .

After 120 entries, the 33rd congressional art competition honored 10 students from six different schools in the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania with national and state commendations, Baum School of Art scholarships and cash awards.

The 15th congressional district includes Lehigh, Northampton, Dauphin, Lebanon and parts of Berks Counties. The competition honored students from Dieruff High School, Parkland High School, Moravian Academy, Salisbury High School, Brandywine Heights High School and Southern Lehigh High School.


But the winner was from Brandywine Heights High School in Berks County, Olivia George for her piece called “Quiet.” Mark Graham, George’s teacher said he is still in disbelief considering the fact that this is their second year in the competition.

“I am still in shock,” Graham said. “I am absolutely thrilled and proud of her. It is just wonderful, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

George’s piece “Quite” will not just be hung in the gallery at The Baum School of Art, it will be displayed in the Cannon Tunnel Gallery in the United States Capitol for a year.

Congressman Dent reminded students, their teachers and parents that although it will a piece among many art pieces from all the congressional districts across the country, the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania have been noticed by tourists and members of congress before.

“One year we had a young woman from the Bangor School District and I will never forget, Congressman Dent said. “I was presiding in the speaker’s chair and one of my colleagues, a democrat, came over to me and said ’Hey Charlie, there is a painting down there, I would like to buy it. Can you get me in touch with the woman who painted it?’ and we did. A day later the same thing happened but this time it was a Republican from Florida.”

The art pieces were of different designs, such as facial expressions, animals, clothing and landscapes among other things. Some of the mediums that were used were water colors, oil paints, acrylics and pastels.

Linda La Due is an art teacher at Parkland High School. She teaches 9 through 12 grades. She teaches a drawing and painting class and also an advance portfolio prep class, for students who want to pursue art as a career. La Due had three students who were placed in the competition from her advance class.

“It is an intensive class for a full year for those who want to go into art as a profession and it helps them to develop a portfolio for applications to colleges and art schools,” La Due said.

Although there are times she has to do demonstration for students of her advance class, La Due said her primary job is not hands-on teaching but instead to facilitate and critique their work.

Jess Marie, an 11th grader from Dieruff High School in Allentown, PA, won third place for her piece “Flowing”, which has predominantly blue and grey colors said she initially wanted to create a painting of the sky but ended up looking like the sky so went a different route. She painted the northern lights because “I like how the colors flow.” Marie’s mother, Deisy Marie shyly smiling said, ‘I am proud of her.’

“She has a lot talent in different areas, Deisy Marie said. “I will be there to help her pursue her goals.”


Congressman Dent also encouraged all the artists who were in attendance to pursue their dreams.

“There is an incredible amount of talent that has participated in this and my only advice is to continue your passion,” Congressman Dent said. All of you have a lot of talent and you should pursue it.”

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