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LOHS student wins Congressional Art Competition

Senior Sarah Wallin is overall winner; runners-up include Melody Xu and Lauren Frack

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lake Oswego High School senior Sarah Wallin won the Congressional Art Competition for her piece 'The View from the Other Side.'For the fourth year in a row, a student in the Lake Oswego School District is the winner of the 2016 Congressional Art Competition for Oregon’s Fifth District.

Sarah Wallin, an LOHS senior and daughter of Lake Oswego School Board member John Wallin, was the overall winner for her painting of the children she met while living for a summer in the Dominican Republic, called “The View from the Other Side.”

SARAH WALLIN“I’m proud as an individual parent, but in my role as a board member, I’m really pleased with the quality of our program,” John Wallin says. “When people think of our school district, they think of academic quality and sports, but I think people need to understand we have a really strong arts program.”

Sarah Wallin and the other winners were all celebrated for their talent at a reception Tuesday at Wilsonville’s Wood Middle School during which U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader presented a certificate to each awardee.

“It’s a celebration of that fact that we have a lot of very cool and interesting artistic young Americans that have a venue to express themselves,” Schrader told The Review. “I think that’s really important, especially with the cutbacks of some of the arts opportunities” in schools statewide. (He says he hopes the art grant opportunities in the federal

Every Student Succeeds Act, passed last year, will also help support children everywhere.)

The Second Runner-Up is LOHS senior Melody Xu for “Curiosity” and the Third Runner-Up is LOHS senior Lauren Frack for “3 Kayaks.” A senior from West Linn High School, Margaret Ackerman, is the First Runner-Up for “Decay.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO - LOHS senior Lauren Frack placed in the Congressional Art Competition as the Third Runner-Up for '3 Kayaks.'Wallin says she is “incredibly honored to have won.”

“I had a chance to look at all the other submissions, and they were all so beautiful,” she says. “I’m honestly shocked that I was chosen as the winner.”

A Lakeridge student won in 2013, and it’s the third year in a row that a Lake Oswego High School student has landed the top honor. Riverdale High did not participate in the event this year, but it held Art Night last week on Wednesday (See story, Page A19). Lake Oswego High School art teacher Katie Brink says she is proud of her students’ achievements.

“These A.P. Art senior girls are thoughtful and dedicated art students,” Brink says. “They go beyond what is required of them, and they deserve this amazing recognition.”

The panel of judges who selected the winners were Nora Brodnicki, chairwoman of the Clackamas Community College Art Department; Linda Merry Gross, president of the Three Rivers Artist Guild board; and Carter Hubbard, Arts Festival coordinator for the Lakewood Center for the Arts.

Launched by Congress in 1982, the competition involves thousands of high school students from across the nation. The art by an overall winner from each participating congressional district is exhibited for a year in the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The winners, including Sarah Wallin, receive a trip to D.C. to view their art on display. Schrader says he hopes the contest and recent legislation helps students like her feel that “that their country validates and is supportive of their artistic talent.”

“We’re practicing what we preach, in terms of being supportive of art education and art in general in terms of being a part of a well-rounded society,” he says.SUBMITTED PHOTO - Melody Xu, a senior at LOHS, placed in the Congressional Art Competition as the Second Runner-Up for 'Curiosity.'

Schrader says the dome at the U.S. Capitol Building should be almost fully renovated after a long process, so students can look forward to viewing the structure, returned to its original texture and color.

The United States has 435 congressional districts. Oregon has five congressional districts. Schrader’s district looks like a “T” that’s fallen on its left side. His district covers a swath of the coast, strips across the Willamette Valley and reaches east almost to the Warm Springs Reservation.

Schrader says the work these artists do may pass the test of time, even beyond the memory of historic legislation.

“Every great country, every great empire isn’t remembered for its legislation,” he says. “It’s remembered for a lot of its artistic achievements, whether it’s buildings or sculpture or art — it’s the culture they leave behind.”

By Jillian Daley
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