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Congressional Art Competition


Every spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent across the United States and in each congressional district. Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. 

Each Member of Congress has the privilege of submitting one piece of artwork from their district to be displayed for one year in a tunnel leading to the U.S. Capitol. It is an honor to be able to promote this program so that the many talented high school students in our 20th Congressional District might be recognized for their artistic endeavors. 

As we continue to follow social distancing guidelines, this year’s competition will be conducted digitally. Even though we will not be able to host the in-person gallery display and reception, a virtual exhibit will be hosted by The Arts Center of Capital Region.   

Each high school may submit up to three entries from their students. Submissions must be received no later than 11:00 PM on Wednesday, April 21.

  • Images should be jpegs, minimum 1024 pixels wide for horizontal, 78 pixels high for vertical, min. 102 dpi for individual images, but file size under 5 MB each.
  • Please name your digital image files in the following standardized format: 
    student last name.first intial.title.schoolinitials  ex. Smith.B.title.AHS
  • Please send the images through WeTransfer to diana.bennett@mail.house.gov
  • Using the Excel spreadsheet HERE, email an electronic inventory of submitted work to Diana Bennett (diana.bennett@mail.house.gov).

Included on the spreadsheet is a column for attestation that the student and his/her/their parents understand and agree that their name and artwork will be displayed digitally. Please put an X in the box to agree. 

The winner, runner up, and honorable mentions will be determined by a panel of judges and will be announced as part of the virtual exhibit. The winning artwork will be shipped to Washington, D.C. to be showcased in the U.S. Capitol. The winning artist will have the opportunity to attend a ceremony, currently planned for late June, unveiling their artwork with winners from across the country. The runner-up and honorable mentions will have the opportunity to display their pieces in my Albany District Office.

All entries are subject to the following requirements:

  • Artwork must be two-dimensional.
  • Each piece must be no larger than 26”x 26” x 4” (26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep) and cannot weigh more than 15lbs, including the frame. The overall winning piece will be subject to more stringent frame and mounting requirements before being sent to Washington, D.C. for display. Due to wide participation, framed works larger than the specified dimensions will be turned away by the House Office Building Commission.
  • Artwork accepted mediums are as follows:  
  • Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.
  • Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (it is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed)
  • Collage: must be two-dimensional
  • Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints
  • Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.
  • Computer-generated Art
  • Photography

Arrangements will be made with the winning artist to secure the piece, which will be shipped to Washington D.C. to arrive no later than May 21. The winning artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol for the entire year of the exhibition and cannot be returned to the student earlier. Students should, therefore, submit artwork they will not need for other purposes.

The overall winner will be required to complete and sign a Student Information and Release Form, which will be provided by my office following the virtual reception.

Please use the “Find Your Representative” tool on the House.gov homepage to confirm that each participating student is a resident of New York’s 20th Congressional District.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact: diana.bennett@mail.house.gov


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