Students show off talents at Congressional art contest

May 11, 2019

When Kylie Roberson won first place in the Congressional Art Competition for the 3rd District, which includes Allen County, she was nearly speechless.

“I didn’t ever think I would (win),” the Northrop High School senior said in front of her entry titled “Home,” a painting that will hang in the U.S. Capitol for a year.

Roberson and other students learned Friday they were winners of the contest at the Museum of Art in downtown Fort Wayne.

Roberson and two other Northrop students : MacKenzie Bennett and Colin Harter : won the top three awards.

Bennett and Harter’s works will be displayed in the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, for the year along with the People’s Choice winning painting by Canterbury High School student Phobos Hoang.

Hoang’s award was based on the number of likes, comments and shares on the congressman’s Facebook page, according to a flyer given out at the presentation.

Honorable Mentions included Lillian Turner and McKinzie Hammond from New Haven High School and Bristol Bailor of Prairie Heights High School.

This year’s contest theme was patriotism. The district contest drew 41 entries from 11 high schools in seven counties, the flier said.

As the top winner, Roberson receives two tickets to Washington, D.C., from Southwest Airlines to attend a reception next month. Roberson will see “Home” on exhibit with other winners around the country.

Roberson’s painting featured a woman in the same position as the Statue of Liberty holding a torch against a night sky full of stars, deep blue clouds and Hoosier symbols such as cardinals : the state bird : peonies and a dress that resembled the state flag.

She plans to attend Purdue University Fort Wayne after graduation to major in art, she said.

Bennett’s entry was a fine etching of “Liberty’s Sister,” a take on the traditional portrait of Justice holding scales, a sword and a blindfold.

Contest judges were Alice Eshelman, owner of the Joseph Decuis restaurant; David Lupke, of Lupke & Rice Insurance; and Brian Williamson, of the art museum.

The judging was blind, meaning the judges made their decisions without knowing the artists’ names.

Northrop art teacher John Platt said he gave his students the assignment and allowed them to choose their technique. In the case of the three winners, the techniques were different. Roberson painted, Bennett etched and Harter used photography as his medium.