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Artwork from RCHS student to hang in nation’s Capitol building

Clockwise from top left, Grand Prize winner Ashley Bradley’s double exposure portrait painted with acrylics. Grand Prize winner Ashley Bradley with Congressman Ken
Buck (left) and RCHS art teacher Drew Walter (right) at the
Congressional Art Competition. 

Laura Kassner’s First Place portrait done with spray paint (background) and acrylics.
Ethan Zehnder’s Jury Award winning piece titled “Saying Good Bye.”

By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of Ken Buck and Drew Walter

The Congressional Institute’s 2015 Congressional Art Competition opening show, featuring students’ artwork from Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District, took place April 10 at the Centennial Park Library in Greeley.  Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) students captured three of the four awards in the competition and all three are Castle Pines residents.

The Grand Prize winner Ashley Bradley, a junior at RCHS, won the Grand Prize for her brightly colored double exposure portrait done with acrylic paint.  Bradley received two tickets to Washington D.C. to attend an event honoring all the Congressional winners.  Her artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol building for one year.  Bradley said, “I’m honored and excited that people will be able to see my art all year.”

Laura Kassner, a senior at RCHS, received the First Place award for her portrait done with spray paint (background) and acrylics.  Kassner will be attending CU Boulder in the fall to major in art.  Kassner said, “I challenged myself to do a realistic, lighthearted painting.  My idea was originally supposed to be a girl with a bubble popping in her face, but my model (who’s actually Ashley Bradley, the grand prize winner) physically can’t blow a bubble!”

Ethan Zehnder, a junior at RCHS won the Jury Award for his piece titled “Saying Good Bye.”  Zehnder said, “I was doing a landscape but wanted to evoke emotion so I came up with the idea of this girl in a car driving away, like she was leaving and lost in her thoughts.”   

More than 200 people attended the reception.  The first hour was an open gallery accompanied by the Brian Claxton Trio, a brass band. There were 91 entries from 14 schools that participated.  Zehnder said, “Looking at my artwork with all the other winners at the reception made me feel proud.  It was also a privilege to meet Congressman Ken Buck and his staff.”

This annual, nationwide visual arts competition is sponsored by the Congressional Art Caucus in Washington, D.C. and is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in our congressional district.

RCHS Principal Andy Abner remarked, “These students have represented our school and community with excellent artwork that is being recognized nationally.  As principal, I could not be more proud of these students and their accomplishments and the staff who have helped prepare them.  I look forward to seeing all they will accomplish in their lives.” 



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