ALPENA - Alpena High School art student Anneliese Mathia was announced as the winner of the 2014 Congressional Art Competition in the First District. Mathia will have her work displayed in the capitol for one year along with the works of other student contest winners from the other districts. The First District includes the Upper Peninsula and portions of the northern Lower Peninsula, encompassing 32 counties.
"I am so enthused and excited. I never expected that I would ever be granted such an honor," Mathia said. "This has taught me an important lesson: always try something new and never give up because the outcome can be rewarding."
The picture Mathia submitted was based on the events of 9/11, and the impact it had on Americans.
"The picture I submitted meant a lot to me personally," Mathia said. "I made it on 9/11 because I realized how much that day impacted millions of Americans around the world. I made this particular ink drawing to honor those firefighters and other emergency personnel who risked their lives protecting others."
Mathia elaborated on the specifics of her artwork, and what each symbol means to her specifically.
"The hand in the drawing symbolizes America and our struggle as a country to work through that difficult time," Mathia said. "Art is something that helps me show how I feel abou the world; art is expression and a window that opens up new realizations. It's relaxing and something I can see myself wanting to do for the rest of my life."
Mathia's painting competed against artwork including paintings, drawings and photographs from all over the First Congressional District. The piece will be displayed in an exhibit at the Capitol Complex.
Alpena High School art teacher Sarah Bedford said she was thrilled that an AHS student was selected for the honor.
"Anneliese is one of the most talented students I have had as an educator, and she is very deserving of this opportunity," Bedford said. "We are incredibly grateful for the change to be selected to showcase the talent of the Alpena art program and our outstanding students. I hope the arts continue to thrive in our schools, and I appreciate that Congress and Dr. (Dan) Benishek have acknowledged and recognized that with such an exciting, and perhaps life-changing opportunity for our youth."
The 2014 Art Competition Winner Reception honoring Mathia will be held Friday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at Art in the Loft. The contest has been held annually for the last 33 years, and is sponsored by the Congressional Institute.
"We are pleased to have Anneliese's artwork representing northern Michigan in the U.S. Capitol for the next year," Dr. Dan Benishek said. "Anneliese's work is representative of the many talented young artists we have in the First District. We wish to thank all those who participated in the contest, and we wish Anneliese the very best in her future endeavors."
For more details on the reception, call Benishek's office at 202-225-4735. To learn more about the contest, visit www.conginst.org.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.