The winners of the 2023 Congressional High School Art Competition have been announced by the office of U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), which held a ceremony on Tuesday in East Lansing.
This year, entries came from 63 students at 19 different high schools across the 7th District, which includes all of Ingham, Livingston, Clinton, and Shiawassee counties, and parts of Eaton, Oakland, and Genesee counties.
After evaluating the record number of entries, this year’s judges selected “Homestyle,” by Okemos High School student Emma Li, as the winning piece. The oil painting depicts Emma’s grandfather cooking in his kitchen, as seen through the doorway of the home. The judges and the Congresswoman were struck by the attention to detail and maturity of execution in this piece, remarking that it was reminiscent of classical works.
Slotkin praised the winning piece, as well as all those who shared their artistic talents through this annual competition.
“Emma’s artwork captures an everyday scene with such remarkable poignancy, and I can’t wait to see it hanging in the U.S. Capitol building alongside some of the finest student artwork from across the country,” Slotkin said. “This year’s student artists took us through a range of emotions and issues with their work, and I am so proud of the depth of talent and range of expression. It’s not easy to put a piece of yourself into the world to be judged, and these student artists all displayed tremendous courage.”
Li, a sophomore at Okemos High School, will attend a national reception this summer in Washington, D.C. along with all of the 2023 winning artists from across the country.
The judges also selected several honorable mention pieces.
The second place piece, “The Lute,” by Hartland High School student Breanna Zaborowksi, will be showcased in the Congresswoman’s Washington, D.C. office, while the third place piece, “Friendship” by Brighton High School student Caitlyn McKenzie, will hang in her Lansing district office.
The pieces selected as 4th and 5th place will hang in the visitors’ area of her district office. The 4th place piece is “Growth” by Janelle Ostrowski of Lansing Catholic High School, and the 5th place piece is “Time Out” by Seraphim Rose Prince from Everett High School in Lansing.
This year, the Congresswoman also awarded a special prize called the “Spirit of the 7th District,” and selected Lilliana Collins of Holt High School as the inaugural winner. Lilliana’s comic strip depicted the impact of the February 2023 mass shooting at Michigan State University, which her brother attends.
The Congressional Art Competition, sponsored by the Congressional Institute, was initiated by Congress in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of young people living in their districts. To date, nearly 700,000 students have participated in the competition.