Congressman Keith Ellison

Representing the 5th District of Minnesota

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High School Congressional Art Competition

Each spring, members of the U.S. House of Representatives sponsor a nationwide high school arts competition. The Congressional Art Competition - An Artistic Discovery is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in each congressional district. The contest is open to all high school students. The over-all winner of each participating district will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol.

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, more than 650,000 high school students have been involved with the competition.

Last year, I added two new segments: music and spoken word. This year, I am hosting an essay writing competition to celebrate our National and Local Parks systems. The Fifth District has thriving music, writing, and spoken word communities, and it’s important that we celebrate the youth that are excelling at these crafts.

In celebration of the National Park Service centennial, I encourage all students to reflect on the importance of parks – national or local – in their works. All submissions that honor parks and the outdoors will be eligible for special recognition.

Visual Art Guidelines

The competition is open to students in grades 9-12 (and 7th and 8thgraders who attend schools with grades 7-12). Each high school art instructor may submit two original works maximum, and each student may enter the competition only once. Instructors must submit a student release form (below) and a one-paragraph artist statement in addition to the artwork. All of these materials must be submitted the week of Monday, March 28 through Friday, April 1, and may be dropped off at Congressman Ellison’s District Office (2100 Plymouth Ave N. Minneapolis, MN 55411) between 9am and 6pm on these dates. If you need to schedule a different drop-off time, please contact Nicky Leingang at (612) 522-1212 or Nicky.Leingang@mail.house.gov

Students and teachers, please follow these steps:

  1.     Make sure that the student resides in – or attends school in – the Fifth Congressional District
  2.     Read and follow the guidelines from Art Competition organizers in Washington
  3.     Drop off artwork the week of March 28 – April 1 with corresponding release form and artist statement. 

Additional information:

  1.     Students are welcome to submit their artwork either framed or unframed.
  2.     The overall (first place) winner’s artwork must be framed as per the Congressional Art Caucus’ guidelines. If it is not framed when it is submitted to Congressman Ellison’s, the office will frame it at our discretion.
  3.     Please note that the winning piece of artwork and frame must be no larger than 28 inches high, 28 inches wide, and 4 inches deep, to the outside of the frame, and 15 pounds in weight.
  4.     The overall (first place) winner will be invited to attend the Congressional Art Competition’s reception on in Washington, D.C. Additional details about this opportunity will be provided to the first place winner after the reception in late April.

Music and Spoken Word Guidelines

      1.   All works must be original, and last no longer than 4 minutes.
      2.   All entries must be submitted digitally by Friday, April 1 at 6:00pm to Nicky.Leingang@mail.house.gov.
      3.   Participants must read the full eligibility guidelines prior to submitting their entries. Please visit this portal for full information on the music and spoken word competition.

Essay Writing Guidelines

  1.     All works must be original and be no longer than 500 words.
  2.     All entries must be submitted digitally by Friday, April 1 at 6:00pm to Sarah.Sanchez@mail.house.gov
  3.     Participants must read the full eligibility guidelines prior to submitting their entries. Please visit this portal for full information on the music and spoken word competition.

The winners of the music and spoken word competitions will be invited to perform their winning entries at the Art Competition reception in Late April at the UROC Building for all contestants, their families, art teachers, contest judges, and the public. There, the Congressman will announce the overall (first-), second-, and third-place winners of the visual art competition. The overall winner’s artwork from Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. for one year. The second- and third-place winners will have their art displayed in Congressman Ellison’s offices in Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis respectively.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Congressman Ellison’s arts community representative, Nicky Leingang, at (612) 522-1212or Nicky.Leingang@mail.house.gov.